The Placebo Effect Commentary.

Essay by char26 October 2005

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The placebo effect is the notion that one is cured or healed

as a result of merely seeking the medical advice of a doctor,

taking a sugar pill, or even using alternative medicine (Brown,

1998). There are several ways in which to measure the

effectiveness of a placebo as well as evidence to support the

hypothesis, although there is controversy in how to administer

the placebo.

In order to measure the placebo effect one must have a

minimum of two separate groups. To efficiently measure the

effects of a placebo treatment one should conduct a blind study,

wherein neither party is informed of which group is the placebo.

One group receives the placebo and is not instructed that they

are the placebo group. While the other group is given a proposed

treatment. Once the data has been collected, the overall

consensus is then compared. If the placebo group is comparable

to the treated group then the placebo is effective.

However, if

it is not comparable, then it is considered ineffective. This

can be used to measure several different aspects of the human

body as well as conditions.

There have been numerous studies done on the placebo effect.

Some of which have shown a remarkable positive outcome. An

interesting and convincing study mentioned by Brown is a study

that was conducted using non-alcoholic beverages as the placebo.

The study consisted of individuals who were instructed that the

beverage they were given contained alcohol. During the study, it

was noted that the subjects, "....often felt and acted

intoxicated and even showed some of the physiological signs of

intoxication," (Brown, 1998).

The results of the above mentioned study are astonishing.

How is it that the individuals exhibited physiological signs of

intoxication? The notion of this study is that...