Monday, April 21, 2014

The Magic Placebo

While treating wounded American soldiers during World War II, Henry Beecher ran out of pain-killing morphine. Desperate, he decided to continue telling the soldiers that he was giving them morphine, although he was actually infusing them with a saline solution. Amazingly, 40 percent of the soldiers reported that the saline treatment eased their pain.

This has become known as the placebo effect. It is still one of science's mysteries.


"The concept of brain plasticity—the brain’s ability to grow and change in structure and function in response to experience—" was covered by Norman Doidge in an on-line workshop.
The Placebo Effect is just the brain exerting its ability to change. The fake medicine is just the prompt. The pill helps the brain to switch neural pathways, seen in this video, 

It should be noted the brain does this...not the medicine.

The effectiveness is not in the medication, but in the perception of the medication given. The effectiveness of the type of medication is explained as this:  white pills are perceived as generic, colored and a letter impression are seen as more personal, and therefor brand name. An injection is the best form of administration. It would be most effective.

The following video explains how thought affects the brain...


The above explanation depends on the concept of neuroplasticity. Although the concept has been around for a while, it is considered new. The same concept applies to myself and how I could be  communicating.

Again, this is not a mystery, but a change in conceptual framework.


To test this you would most likely have to find people that have never seen or taken medication. There may still be tribes in South America and Africa that have not had medication.

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