1. Benson, H. (1997). The Nocebo Effect: History
and Physiology. Preventive Medicine 26, 612-615.
This article is taken from a speech made by Dr. Benson.
He discusses the nocebo effect: the placebo's negative
counterpart where our bodies can project sickness and
even death. Examples of the nocebo effect are given
including voodoo death. Physiological responses which
may explain the nocebo effect are also discussed.
2. Benson, H. & Epstein, M.D. (1975). The Placebo
Effect: A Neglected Asset in the Care of Patients. Chapter
12 in Health for the Whole Person. Boulder, CO: West
View Press, 179-185.
This article discusses the placebo effect and the important
role of the doctor-patient relationship as it relates
to the placebo effect. The main point of the paper that
the placebo effect often enhances the well-being of
the patient and, therefore, it is an essential aspect
of medicine. The authors state that the placebo effect
demands greater study and must be allowed to survive
if medicine is to provide optimal care for patients.
3. Brody, H. & Brody, D. (2000). Three Perspectives
on the Placebo Response: Expectancy, Conditioning, and
Meaning. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 16, 216-232.
This article discusses three theories or models of the
placebo response in an effort to understand the appearance
and effects of this response. The expectancy theory
states that the mental state of expectancy, by itself
can have an impact on the state of the body's health
or illness. The conditioning theory is based on what
has happened in the past and how it affects the capacity
to heal. The meaning perspective involves providing
a patient a meaningful explanation, showing care and
concern, and giving them a sense of mastery and control.
Each theory is explained and supported by case studies
4. Dienstfrey, H. (2000). Placebo and Health: An
Advances Forum. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 16 (1),
This collection of articles addresses the question:
"True or false: The placebo effect as seen in drug studies
is definitive proof that the mind can bring about clinically
relevant changes in the body." Eight responses are given
to this question by the following researchers: Robert
Ader, Steven F Bierman, Howard Brody, Etzel Cardena
& Irving Kirsch, Seymour Fisher, Donald D. Price,
David Reilly, and Howard M. Spiro. Harris Deinstfrey
summarizes and discusses the responses which were split
almost evenly between true and false replies.
5. Moerman, D.E. & Jonas, W .B. (2000). Toward
a Research Agenda on Placebo. Advances in Mind-Body
Medicine 16 (1), 33-46.
This paper is a partial summary and update of a report
on the National InstitUtes of Health Office of Alternative
Medicine Conference 9n Placebo and Nocebo held December
2-4, 1996. It covers viewpoints of placebo as symbolic
effects and as conditioning effects. Placebo effects
in conventional and alternative medicine are discussed
including placebo analgesia, placebo surgery, placebo
and homeopathy, and placebo and acupuncture. Nocebo
and legal issues are addressed. Finally, this article
included information on improving the rigor and relevance
of science in placebo research and variables to consider
in research on the placebo effect.
6. Is the placebo powerless?
N Engl J Med 2001 May 24;344(21):1594-602,1603-7,1630-2
N Engl J Med 2001 Oct 25;345:1276-1279 Spiegel D., Kraemer
H., Carlson, McDonald.
An analysis if clinical trials comparing placebo
with no treatment.