Tag Archives: Placebo

Homeopathy: medicine or placebo?

Shrestha Saraf Sutton Coldfield, UK Sudarshan Ramachandran Birmingham, UK   Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann. Mezzotint by R. Woodman after G. E. Hering. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark Homeopathy, based on a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine, was developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann around 1790. The primary principle of homeopathy is “like cures like,” i.e., […]

The patient who provided his own placebo and fully recovered

Lawrence Climo Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by Zach Lezniewicz on Unsplash My elderly patient began his treatment by complaining about how his mother had behaved towards him in his boyhood. She had hurt him with her name-calling and humiliating insults, and these had apparently resulted in a lifetime of a negativism towards her. He […]

Suicide in medical school

Trevor Klee Cambridge, MA, United States   Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate), 1890, Vincent Van Gogh.  Depression and suicide are difficult subjects to write about because they are unpleasant and have at least a faint tinge of moral failure. Moreover, the enormity of the feelings involved dwarfs the attempts to portray them in writing. […]

Placebo effect or care effect? Four examples from the literary world

Pekka Louhiala Raimo Puustinen Finland   It is common knowledge that patients may exhibit improvement following an encounter in which no specific drugs or effective medications were prescribed. Indeed, even fictional doctors have often been depicted as knowing that their patients may require no active drugs and that their mere presence, their advice and encouragement, […]