Showing posts with label Placebo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Placebo. Show all posts

Feb 13, 2015

Mind Control

Our minds are so powerful, that we can actually heal ourselves through the power of thought. The difficulty is that sometimes we need to be tricked into it. We need a reason to believe we have the power. The placebo effect gives us a reason and has been well documented.

In a recent study, researchers found a patient's perception or expectation of a drug based on how much it costs, significantly affects the drug's efficacy. The medical team gave a group of volunteers with Parkinson's disease two shots of a placebo drug for the disease and participants were not told it was a simple saline solution. Doctors told the patients they were receiving two drugs, one shot and then the second after the first wore off. Prior to administering the shots, doctors told the participants each drug had proven equally effective, but one cost $100 per dose and the other cost $1,500 per dose. Both doses were the exact same saline solution.

Results showed the 'expensive' placebo minimized hand shaking and improved motor skills among the Parkinson's disease patients more effectively than did the 'cheap' placebo. Researchers also found the difference in efficacy was most pronounced among patients who admitted to expecting an improved result from the expensive version of the drug. The study was recently published in the journal Neurology. I think I can. I think I can. . .

Placebo Affect

Ted Kaptchuk’s first randomized clinical drug trial, All the patients had joined the study hoping to alleviate severe arm pain: carpal tunnel, tendinitis, chronic pain in the elbow, shoulder, and wrist.

In one part of the study, half the subjects received pain-reducing pills; the others were offered acupuncture treatments. The pills his team had given patients were actually made of cornstarch; the acupuncture needles were retractable shams that never pierced the skin. The study was designed to compare two fakes.

In both cases, people began to call in, saying they couldn't get out of bed. The pills were making them sluggish, the needles caused swelling and redness; some patients’ pain ballooned to nightmarish levels. Almost a third of his 270 subjects complained of bad side effects. The side effects were exactly what patients had been warned their treatment might produce. Most of the other patients reported real relief, and those who received acupuncture felt even better than those on the anti-pain pill.

Jul 25, 2014

Placebo and Color Affect

Researchers found the color of a package and a pill makes a difference in how it works. In one study, every patient was given the exact same sedative, but some patients received it in a blue pill and others in an orange pill. The blue pill takers reported falling asleep 30 minutes faster, and sleeping 30 minutes longer, than the orange pill takers.

You likely know that you can give a person with a headache a Tic Tac, say it is medicine, and it may eliminate a headache just like an aspirin would, for reasons science doesn't completely understand. This phenomenon is also affected by color. In other words, how you perceive effectiveness affects effectiveness and color matters.

Subjects, in another study were told they would get a sedative or a stimulant, when they were actually getting placebos. Sixty six percent of the subjects who took blue pills reported feeling less alert, compared to only twenty six percent of those who took pink pills. It is because we have been conditioned to think that blue is tranquil.

In yet another study, when researchers put various fake medicine packages in front of subjects, the subjects picked certain colors of boxes over others. Warm colors like brown and red were perceived as more potent, especially if the shades were darker. This is why heart medicines are often red and brown, while skin medicines are yellow, and sleeping pills are often blue. Painkillers are most often white. All carefully chosen to match our perceptions.

The majority of fast food chains have red and yellow or orange in their logo, because these are stimulating colors. Lowfat containers, more often than not have blue on the package.

Color associations are also cultural. In America blue is a calming and peaceful color, but in Italy it is associated with the national soccer team. Researchers found that, rather than making him drowsy, a blue pill might send an Italian singing into the night.

Aug 21, 2012

Smarter Pills

The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a device that is integrated into pills and let’s doctors know when patients take their medicine and when they don’t.

The device, made by Proteus Digital Health, is a silicon chip about the size of a sand particle. With no battery and no sensor, it is powered by the body itself. The chip contains small amounts of copper and magnesium. After being ingested the chip will interact with digestive juices to produce a voltage that can be read from the surface of the skin through a detector patch, which then sends a signal via mobile phone to inform the doctor that the pill has been taken.

Sensors on the chip also detect heart rate and can estimate the patient’s amount of physical activity. It will allow doctors to better assess if a person is responding to a given dose, or if that dose needs to be adjusted.

It has been in clinical trials since 2009, but currently the FDA has only approved the chip for placebo pills, which were used in trials showing the chip to be safe and highly accurate. Proteus hopes to gain approval to use the digestible chip with other medicines. Andrew Thompson, chief executive of Proteus, says the chip has already been tested with treatments for tuberculosis, mental health, heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes.

The company is currently working with makers of metformin, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes and the most commonly prescribed drug in the world. The company also plans on adding a wireless glucose meter to their device so that dosage amount and frequency can be correlated with changes in blood glucose levels.

Dec 3, 2010

Expensive Effective Placebos

The more expensive your pain medications are, the better the relief you get from taking them, even if they are fake. That's according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which suggests that sugar pills labeled as expensive drugs relieve pain better than sugar pills labeled as discounted drugs.

According to the authors, marketing actions, such as pricing, can alter the actual efficacy of products to which they are applied. In three experiments, the authors show that consumers who pay a discounted price for a product may derive less actual benefit from consuming this product than consumers who purchase and consume the exact same product, but pay its regular price.