Editorial: Reframing the placebo effect. The importance of meaning

Published on Aug 23, 2021in Mental Health and Social Inclusion
· DOI :10.1108/MHSI-08-2021-095
Rachel Perkins7
Estimated H-index: 7
Julie Repper21
Estimated H-index: 21
#8Hao Wang (HHMI: Howard Hughes Medical Institute)H-Index: 73
The development of noninvasive methods to detect and monitor tumors continues to be a major challenge in oncology. We used digital polymerase chain reaction–based technologies to evaluate the ability of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to detect tumors in 640 patients with various cancer types. We found that ctDNA was detectable in >75% of patients with advanced pancreatic, ovarian, colorectal, bladder, gastroesophageal, breast, melanoma, hepatocellular, and head and neck cancers, but in less than ...
#1Irving Kirsch (BIDMC: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center)H-Index: 94
Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory. But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect. Some antidepressants increase serotonin levels, some decrease it, and some have no effect at all on serotonin. Nev...
#1Arif Khan (Duke University)H-Index: 29
#2James FaucettH-Index: 6
Last. Walter A. Brown (Brown University)H-Index: 46
view all 5 authors...
Background: Although previous meta-analyses have examined effects of antidepressants, psychotherapy, and alternative therapies for depression, the efficacy of these treatments alone and in combination has not been systematically compared. We hypothesized that the differences between approved depression treatments and controls would be small. Methods and Findings: The authors first reviewed data from Food and Drug Administration Summary Basis of Approval reports of 62 pivotal antidepressant trial...
#1Fabrizio Benedetti (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 73
#2Elisa Carlino (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 20
Last. Antonella Pollo (UNITO: University of Turin)H-Index: 26
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Although placebos have long been considered a nuisance in clinical research, today they represent an active and productive field of research and, because of the involvement of many mechanisms, the study of the placebo effect can actually be viewed as a melting pot of concepts and ideas for neuroscience. Indeed, there exists not a single but many placebo effects, with different mechanisms and in different systems, medical conditions, and therapeutic interventions. For example, brain mechanisms of...
#1Franklin G. Miller (NIH: National Institutes of Health)H-Index: 75
#2Ted J. Kaptchuk (Harvard University)H-Index: 93
The placebo effect has received increasing scientific attention in recent years. Progress in translating knowledge about this phenomenon into improved outcomes for patients, however, is hampered by conceptual confusion and misleading terminology. In this article we diagnose what is wrong with the placebo concept and suggest ‘contextual healing’ as a fruitful alternative way of conceiving the placebo effect.
In the same way that physicians have generally had a rather ambivalent attitude towards the relationship between mind and healing, the placebo effect has had a long—and often troubled—relationship with conventional medicine. One of the first to describe the power of ineffective medicine was the French philosopher and essayist Michel de Montaigne, who wrote in 1572 “there are men on whom the mere sight of medicine is operative.” In fact, in those days, nearly all medicines relied on either some f...
Background: Resilience does not refer to a magical state of invulnerability and the capacity for resilience does not end when one is diagnosed with a prolonged disorder or disease. Despite the enduring legacy of pessimism regarding resilience in the population of people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, a majority do recover. Aim: The present study seeks to understand how people with psychiatric disorders demonstrate the capacity for resilience in the ways they use or do not use psychiatric ...
Mean effect sizes for changes in depression were calculated for 2,318 patients who had been randomly assigned to either antidepressant medication or placebo in 19 double-blind clinical trials. As a proportion of the drug response, the placebo response was constant across different types of medication (75%), and the correlation between placebo effect and drug effect was .90. These data indicate that virtually all of the variation in drug effect size was due to the placebo characteristics of the s...
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