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Goodness of Placebo effect

A recent research report shows a very interesting mechanism our mind uses to heal the body and questions the effects of modern medications and alternate methods.

In every test conducted to check the efficiency of a newly invented medicine, patients are usually divided into two groups. One group of patients receive drug which contains the new medicine (which is intended to be tested) and the other receives 'placebo' (but they don't know that they are being administered placebo and not real medicines).

Placebo means a medcine which does not have any active chemical ingredients.  In simpler terms, placebo is more or less like a sugarpill.  This experimental setup is done to find out whether the patients who receive the 'real medicine' show any significant improvment in their heath compared to those patients who received 'placebo'. 

placebo effectThe placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain's role in physical health.  If there is  good improvement in those patients who took 'real medicine', then the researchers conclude that the 'newly invented medicine' is useful in healing particular illness or disease.

But a recent study on the effects of placebo done by a professor in the Harvard University gives some interesting results. 

Two group of patients who had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) were formed.  One group received 'no medicaion'. And the other received 'placebo'.  But the difference in this test is that the patients who received 'placebo' were told that they were receiving only 'placebo' and it does not have any active chemicals. 

The patients who had placebo shown marked improvement even after knowing that they took placebo compared to the patients who received no medication.  The improvement in the conditions of patients who used placebo is nearly equal to the most effective medicine to cure IBS.

Simply, the curability of a 'placebo' and that of a 'most potent drug' used for 'IBS' are  almost same.  The results now raise a big question 'which heals an illness?' Mind? or Medicines? 

Source: ABC News

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