Comment on Practice Interview by phia

This is a really insightful post, Nathan! I learned a lot of new information just by reading your post. I’m glad to see it went well. I have a question: Did this change your interest in the career at all? Have you discovered new pros and cons to this career?
Awesome post!

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Comment on TED Talk – Placebos by phia

Hi Sam! In regards to your question, there have been studies similar to what you’re talking about. In a study, one group was given nothing, the second group was given a placebo prescription but no other added care and attention, and the third group was given a placebo and had regular interactions with a doctor to check in with how they were doing. The second group improved more than the first, but the third group improved most. This is believed to be because they were being cared fore more than the second group, that only received a prescription but nor further care. So yes, I do think that he placebo effect can be heightened through the delivery of the message.

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Comment on TED Talk – Placebos by phia

Hi Michelle! Thanks for your comment. From my research, even people who don’t believe in the placebo effect seem to have reaped benefits from it. This may be because subconsciously they feel as though they are being cared for, because a professional is checking in with them. But of course, there may be exceptions…this probably requires more research. (and I noticed the audio problem when I was editing haha. Not sure why it happened, but oh well :’) )

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Comment on TED Talk – Placebos by phia

Hi Billie,

Thanks for your kind words! To answer your question, I would say step right into any doctor’s office. 97% of 783 doctors who were surveyed in a study admitted to giving patients a placebo in their practice, and 77% said they did a least once a week. But these refer to the use of “impure” placebos. Pure placebos are things like sugar pills or saline injections that have zero effect on the taker. Impure placebos are antidotes that doctors prescribe simply to reassure patients, but the medicine is not likely to cure them.
Or, you can consider some home remedies placebos. Superstitions about healing from different cultures can be considered placebo, but then we start getting into beliefs versus science conversations and that can be very very controversial.

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Comment on TED Talk – Placebos by phia

Hey Lauryn,
Thanks for commenting! No one is sure why placebos are so effective. Some people believe that disease in only in the mind, therefore the use of a placebo and attention and care towards a patient will improve them. Perhaps placebos can cure, but it’s more likely that it’s a mix of belief and the good treatment a patient gets from their doctor or families after receiving a placebo. Placebos can be a contributing factor to curing some illnesses, but not all. A placebo cannot cure gaping wounds or tumors or a severed limb, for example. Placebos are shown to work best on symptom-based problems, like depression.

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Comment on TED Talk – Placebos by phia

Hi Nathan,

As the hotel maid study is one of the only few of its kind, I cannot tell you whether the results were rare or not. But in regards to your question about the odds that you have been prescribed a placebo in the past is very high. (I did not include this in my talk or it would have been too long.) 97% of 783 doctors who were surveyed in a study admitted to giving patients a placebo in their practice, and 77% said they did a least once a week, but these refer to the use of “impure” placebos. Pure placebos are things like sugar pills or saline injections that have zero effect on the taker. Impure placebos are antidotes that doctors prescribe simply to reassure patients, but the medicine is not likely to cure them. A personal example I have is that when I had an ear infection, I saw two doctors. One was very impatient and prescribed me ear drops quickly and told me to come back another time if it was still bothering me. I took the drops, and felt “better”. The other doctor told me that the ear drops likely would do nothing and told me to use olive oil instead, and to come back so she could remove a wax buildup in my ear. (TMI? Maybe. You can probably handle this.) I think I was prescribed a placebo by the first doctor.
I hope this answers your question!

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