Ben Goldacre explains the placebo effect
Here’s a great video by Dr. Ben Goldacre (author of the book Bad Science, which is now on my “must read” list) talking about the placebo effect. What is really interesting about this video is the discussion regarding the ethical ramifications of lying to your patients. On the one hand, it can speed up their recovery. On the other, it can reduce their trust towards other treatments. What a dilemma! No wonder alternative medicine practitioners feel so confident about their art (which it is, rather than a science): they have no real requirements to be honest, so they get to limitlessly enjoy the benefits of the placebo effect without any negative reprocussions. Now wonder the industry is so lucrative!
Also, I love how the very color of the pills, the amount of pills you take actually affects how effective it is. Man, human beings are weird!
(props to Pharyngula for the find)