Placebo is the term used for a treatment which is medically ineffective but is given to the patient intentionally and without his or her consent. It is because the placebo is connected to the so-called placebo effect. It has the great importance for the medical research because it provides a baseline during the drug testing. It is because patients who receive the placebo statistically show better improvement than those who receive no treatment. It is a consensus that this effect is caused by a combination of reasons connected to the response of an organism triggered on the psychological level. It is known that placebo works for one-third to one-half of patients. Those who are sensitive enough and their medical conditions improve after the placebo application are called „placebo reactors“. In the following list, some problems which can be treated with placebo are stated. You will find some surprising facts about placebos in this list.
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10. Back pain
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The chronical back pain is one of those medical conditions which can be treated with placebo. It is especially important because back pain is a civilizational problem which affects millions in the western world. The placebo effect was proven by several clinical studies in this case. The mechanism of the back pain is apparently containing steps which can be affected by the mental condition of a patient.
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As the depression is tightly connected with the mental health of a patient, it is not surprising that placebo effect can take place in this case. The nature of the depression is mostly psychological and placebo can not even weaken patient´s medical condition in terms of symptoms but it can also cause changes in their brains and to boost the effectiveness of the subsequent medication. The study of these surprising facts about placebos can help us to understand the nature of depression and possibilities of its treatment.
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Nausea is one of the really uncomfortable medical conditions. It can have many reasons, some of them very serious. Of course, the placebo cannot annul nausea caused by most physiological causes. But it can reduce its extent in cases like nausea which is connected to a motion sickness. In cases like that, the placebo effect can be of use.
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The placebo can have a different form than the pills, it can also have the form of a fake surgery. And it was shown by the 2002 clinical study that such pretended surgery can have a positive effect for those troubled by an arthritic pain. The placebo effect works in this case but of course it can´t cure arthritis, it can just reduce the pain for some time.
6. Chronic pain
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Similar to the lower back pain discussed in item no. 10 in this list, the placebo can be very useful in reducing the pain. Medical conditions connected with the painful states can be affected by the placebo to some limited extent. But as in all cases, the placebo can work only for some limited time.
5. Erectile dysfunction
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There are many possible explanations of man´s failure in the moments of great intimacy. A significant portion of them is psychological and here is when a moment of glory can come for the placebo effect. The effect can be very strong for psychological-caused erectile dysfunction problems.
4. Skin rash
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Skin rash is a disease which, except the fact that it is uncomfortable, is also aesthetically unsightly and everyone wants to get rid of it. And as for many other diseases, skin rash can have a lot of causes. In cases when the cause of the uncomfortable rash is of psychosomatic origin. The placebo can reduce it for some time.
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Yes, it is true. One of the most surprising facts about placebos is that it can help in the fight against cancer. But of course, you have to understand that this help is limited to reducing symptoms relieving the pain and other unpleasant signs of the disease. The placebo is not a miraculous cure for cancer but it can be of some good from time to time.
2. Alzheimer´s disease
Alzheimer´s disease is one of the most feared diagnosis you can hear. There is still no cure for this merciless disease which has the ability to destroy your personality and steal all your memories and your previous life. The placebo can slow its advance a little bit, nothing more, nothing less.
1. Parkinson´s disease
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Another of highly surprising facts about placebos is its functionality in an effort to slow down the arrival of the symptoms of Parkinson´s disease. Let´s hope that the study of placebo effect mechanism will help us to find a real cure for such terrible diseases.
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