Placebos Are Favourable for the Health
One of the groups receives the actual drug which they want to test, whereas the other group, the control group receives placebos. The placebos are sugar pills, and they do not have any effect over one’s health whatsoever. The researchers do this in order to see if the drugs actually have an effect on the people. If they have the same effect as the placebos, then it means that they are useless. However, it has been discovered that these placebos actually have a positive effect on one’s health, which indicates that the mind might be/is more powerful than we imagined. The researchers stated that the benefits of the placebos can be seen even when the volunteers are aware of the fact that the drugs which they take are not real. It seems that endorphins are released in the bodies even when the people know that they take placebos instead of real pills. The researchers conducted an experiment on various people who suffered from IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They gave one of the groups drugs, but they told them that they were placebos, and they gave the other group, well, nothing.
The interesting thing was that 59 percent of the ones who took placebos, said that they felt better afterwards, whereas only 30 percent of the ones who did not receive anything said that their condition improved. The reason why the placebos worked, is unknown for the scientists, but they have certain theories about it. They believe that the act of taking medications on a daily basis might trick the brain into believing that the drugs are actually beneficial for the health. Various researchers from the University of Alberta discovered the fact that the people, who took placebos on a daily basis, even if they were healthy, had a lower death rate than the ones who did not take any medications. The researchers believe that the reason for this difference might be the fact that the ones who took the placebos on a daily basis were more concerned about their health than the other people. This meant that they took extra measures in order to make sure that they do not get sick.
The results in the IBS experiment were very surprising for the researchers, because a 29 percent difference is a lot. Under normal circumstances if the tested drug has a 15 percent difference in comparison to the placebos, it is considered to be a success. Yet the placebos had a nearly 30 percent difference, which made them almost as good as the IBS medication alosetron, which is quite unsafe for the health. Damien Finniss, a researcher at the University of Sydney, said that under normal circumstances, the placebos work only if the ones who take them believe that they are real drugs. He was surprised to hear that they were effective even when the volunteers were aware of the fact that they took placebos. The reason why this experiment was conducted in the first place was because numerous physicians from the United States of America claimed that they often give their patients placebos in order to help them with their problems. They stated that their patients feel better after they take the placebos, even though their health condition should not change.
Ted Kaptchuk, who is an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, said that the experiment was really interesting, and that it might lead to various ways in which the doctors might use these fake drugs. For example they might give them to people who suffer from depression, or who have certain pains. Even the drug users might benefit from them.11