New Age healing is about to get a major scientific boost

by phil on Tuesday Dec 13, 2011 3:18 PM

Really fascinating article in the New Yorker about recent advances in the study of placebos:

They have found, for example, that diazepam—more commonly known as Valium—has no discernible effect on anxiety unless a person knows he is taking it
This year, Harvard created an institute dedicated wholly to their study [of placebos], the Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter.
In most cases, the larger the pill, the stronger the placebo effect. Two pills are better than one, and brand-name pills trump generics. Capsules are generally more effective than pills, and injections produce a more pronounced effect than either. There is even evidence to suggest that the color of medicine influences the way one responds to it: colored pills are more likely to relieve pain than white pills; blue pills help people sleep better than red pills; and green capsules are the best bet when it comes to anxiety medication
A takeaway I get from the article is that "healing is healing is healing." Whether it's shamanism, acupuncture, or Advil, it's still healing.

Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, but I recommend checking out the New Yorker app on your iPad or picking up an issue at the library.


Ezra said on January 23, 2012 6:27 AM:

Very interesting. The diazepam dose used must have been low (1-5 mg) or clinical observations required to meet "discernable effect on anxiety" must have been very lax. 20 mg oral diazepam will sedate many non-drug tolerant patients to the point of sleep.

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