Ten years ago, researchers stumbled onto a striking finding: Women who believed that they were prone to heart disease were nearly four times as likely to die as women with similar risk factors who didn't hold such fatalistic views.
The higher risk of death, in other words, had nothing to with the usual heart disease culprits -- age, blood pressure, cholesterol, weight. Instead, it tracked closely with belief. Think sick, be sick.
As an organic chemist with a major pharmaceutical company, Dr David Hamilton was on a good salary, developing a new generation of drugs by synthesising molecules found in nature. But Dr Hamilton was never convinced that man could improve on nature, and instead was becoming more and more fascinated by the potential healing power of the mind. So, inspired by his body’s ability to withstand heat during fire-walking, he began a quest to investigate the mysteries of the mind-body connection.
Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime prime minister, remarked, “To almost every question there is an answer that is clear, concise, coherent and wrong!”
For years we’ve been told that anti-depressant drugs were the be-all and end-all for depressed patients.
Now, a recent report claims that placebos are just as effective for many patients. So should doctors use placebos (dummy pills) to trick patients? The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) helps to answer this dilemma.
Julio Rocha do Amaral, MD e Renato M. E. Sabbatini, PhD
When a medicine is prescribed or administered to a patient, it can have several effects. Some of them depend directly on the medicine's pharmacological action. There exists, however, another effect, that is not linked to the medicine's pharmacology, and that can also appear when a pharmacologically inactive substance is administered. We call it placebo effect. It is one of the most common phenomena observed in medicine, but also a very mysterious one.
by Tamar Nordenberg
One patient stands out in the memory of Stephen Straus, M.D., for her remarkable recovery, more than 10 years ago, from chronic fatigue syndrome. The woman, then in her 30s, was "very significantly impaired," says Straus, chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "She had no energy, couldn't work, and spent most of her time at home." But her strength was restored during a study to test the effectiveness of an experimental chronic fatigue drug.