Mind Body Medicine
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XXIV Placebo (more...)

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 and examples.

4. Dienstfrey, H. (2000). Placebo and Health: An Advances Forum. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine 16 (1), 7-32.
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 Hrobjartsson A,Gotzsche.
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.