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  1. #11
    almost half a doctor phoenix13's Avatar
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    The placebo effect is the measurable manifestation of one's expectations about a medical intervention. It doesn't have to be a mere psychological thing either. For example, with a placebo pain killer, there may be top-down modulation of pain receptors in the individual as a result of their expectations, similar to the mechanism of action of a non-placebo pain killer (I think this is why many doctors, before giving you a shot, say "this won't hurt a bit" to try to alter our expectations and make it actually hurt less). I've also heard of negative placebo effects, where the patient thinks the medication will make them vomit, and they end up vomiting a sugar pill.

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  2. #12
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    My understanding is the placebo effect is the psychosomatic component of medicine. In other words part of the curing power of medicine comes from believing that the medicine will cure you.

    For example say a study was done on patients inflicted with some disease that penicillin will treat. Group A is given a shot of penicillin. Group B is given a shot of ordinary saline solution. Group C is given nothing.

    The results will be that group A will see the most improvement in conditions. Group B will see the second most improvement and group C will see the least improvement. The impotent saline solution actually has something of a curing effect simply because the patients believe it will. That is the placebo effect.
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