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Calm mind - heal body?
Posted: 04 November 2012 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Lois - 04 November 2012 11:44 AM
dougsmith - 03 November 2012 04:31 PM

Just to update for all those following at home: comvita was, pretty obviously, a spammer. The account has gone to spammer heaven.

Not Hell?

LOL

Good point! In this case, though, they’re the same place.

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Posted: 25 November 2012 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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traveler - 25 April 2012 10:14 AM

I’m running in my underwear this weekend for colon cancer research. Here is one of the mass emails from the colon cancer alliance to participants. LINK

I don’t mind the calm mind part, but the heal body part bugs me. It seems to be woo-full and offer false hope. If it helps a person maintain some peace and happiness near the end, then it probably does some good. I just wonder whether that trumps any false hope. Thoughts? MacGyver?

I do not hav a total opinion about these, but i think i amazing how our minds can do things we think is impossible. I believe that it can bring us peace and freedom, i ust don’t think is a divine thing…i believe it’s more neuroscientific than divine or something bullshit.

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Posted: 25 November 2012 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Well, there really is such a thing as a placebo effect.  However, unfortunately, us skeptics may be immune to it.

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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 05:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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However, unfortunately, us skeptics may be immune to it.

Not a chance! Most of the biases and cognitive errors lumped under the label of “placebo effects” are inherent features of the human brain and cannot be “immunized against” by general skepticism. The most useful thing being a skeptic does to protect you from yourself is to teach you not to imagine your own beliefs or perceptions are intrinsically any more reliable than anyone else’s and to rely on the evidence instead, even when it conflicts with what seems true to you personally.

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Posted: 26 November 2012 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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mckenzievmd - 26 November 2012 05:54 PM

However, unfortunately, us skeptics may be immune to it.

Not a chance! Most of the biases and cognitive errors lumped under the label of “placebo effects” are inherent features of the human brain and cannot be “immunized against” by general skepticism. The most useful thing being a skeptic does to protect you from yourself is to teach you not to imagine your own beliefs or perceptions are intrinsically any more reliable than anyone else’s and to rely on the evidence instead, even when it conflicts with what seems true to you personally.

I think thats true but the placebo effect also requires a certain amount of “faith” in the effectiveness of the treatment or activity. Obviously skeptics may be convinced to have faith in a treatment that sounds logical even if its total BS and in such cases they would be as susceptible to the placebo effect as anyone else. Perhaps on the whole, skeptics may be a little less willing to believe in the benefits of many fringe treatments and thus less likely to have the faith required to succumb to the placebo effect as often as non-skeptics, not because they are immune to the placebo effect but simply because they put their faith in better treatments.

[ Edited: 26 November 2012 06:46 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 27 November 2012 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Mac, babies are susceptible to the placebo effect and animals can be trained to be.  I don’t in either case there’s any “faith” involved.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Dead Monky - 27 November 2012 08:55 AM

Mac, babies are susceptible to the placebo effect and animals can be trained to be.  I don’t in either case there’s any “faith” involved.

DM I would love to see the references to support that. Placebo effects absolutely require faith in the benefit of the treatment since there is no benefit attributable to any direct biological effects. By definition the item being tested is a placebo and therefor inert. The only method by which these agents can act is through the subjects perception and expectations.

There are two ways you could test this that i can think of and both are flawed.

1) You can give a placebo to one group and nothing to the other and see if there is any difference in response. The problem with this approach is that any response may be secondary to the interaction you are having with the individual in administering the placebo rather than having anything to do with the placebo itself.

2) You could give a placebo to one group and somehow ( I have no idea how you do this with a baby or animal) convey to the individual that this is a real treatment and then give a placebo to a second group and convince them its a placebo. This type of study has too many hurdles and potential pitfalls to be of any use as far as I can see.

  You would have to also show that the effect was the same as the purported effect you were hoping to get from the placebo and not just some random response.  If a baby is given a sugar pill and then smiles while the baby given nothing fails to smile that is not really a placebo effect.

I am open to examining the research though so if you have anything please post it. Thx

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Posted: 27 November 2012 12:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Dead Monky - 27 November 2012 08:55 AM

Mac, babies are susceptible to the placebo effect and animals can be trained to be.  I don’t in either case there’s any “faith” involved.

Babies are susceptible to the placebo effect?  That is interesting.

(I recall telling a physician once, that I wanted the best placebo that he had.  I’m not sure whether it worked as he used more conventional methods, as well.)

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Posted: 27 November 2012 12:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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macgyver - 27 November 2012 11:09 AM
Dead Monky - 27 November 2012 08:55 AM

Mac, babies are susceptible to the placebo effect and animals can be trained to be.  I don’t in either case there’s any “faith” involved.

DM I would love to see the references to support that. Placebo effects absolutely require faith in the benefit of the treatment since there is no benefit attributable to any direct biological effects. By definition the item being tested is a placebo and therefor inert. The only method by which these agents can act is through the subjects perception and expectations.

There are two ways you could test this that i can think of and both are flawed.

1) You can give a placebo to one group and nothing to the other and see if there is any difference in response. The problem with this approach is that any response may be secondary to the interaction you are having with the individual in administering the placebo rather than having anything to do with the placebo itself.

2) You could give a placebo to one group and somehow ( I have no idea how you do this with a baby or animal) convey to the individual that this is a real treatment and then give a placebo to a second group and convince them its a placebo. This type of study has too many hurdles and potential pitfalls to be of any use as far as I can see.

  You would have to also show that the effect was the same as the purported effect you were hoping to get from the placebo and not just some random response.  If a baby is given a sugar pill and then smiles while the baby given nothing fails to smile that is not really a placebo effect.

I am open to examining the research though so if you have anything please post it. Thx

I guess it might work somehow through the parent/baby dyadic relationship. i.e., the parent responds differently to the child than they would without the placebo.  Just a thought.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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TimB - 27 November 2012 12:09 PM

I guess it might work somehow through the parent/baby dyadic relationship. i.e., the parent responds differently to the child than they would without the placebo.  Just a thought.

Thats possible but then it requires the faith of the parent. One way or another someone has to have a belief that the treatment will work. As always the devil is in the details so we will have to wait and see if DM can find the studies that made the claim.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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macgyver - 27 November 2012 12:44 PM
TimB - 27 November 2012 12:09 PM

I guess it might work somehow through the parent/baby dyadic relationship. i.e., the parent responds differently to the child than they would without the placebo.  Just a thought.

Thats possible but then it requires the faith of the parent. One way or another someone has to have a belief that the treatment will work. As always the devil is in the details so we will have to wait and see if DM can find the studies that made the claim.

Indeed. I can’t wait…

I’ll do a quick web search and see if I can find something.

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Posted: 27 November 2012 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I didn’t find any hard research, but it may be that the idea may have arisen from claims that homeopathy works on babies and animals.  See the following site for a good list of ideas of how what homeopathists have claimed from their treatments, are actually the result of a placebo effect:

http://punkpsychologist.blogspot.com/2010/02/homeopathy-does-not-work-on-babies-or.html

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Posted: 27 November 2012 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Exactly. Good explanations of the multiple mechanisms by which there may be a real or perceived effect in the patient bu as we stated it requires belief on the part of the caregiver in these cases. Their always has to be an element of faith for the placebo effect to work. What other possible mechanism could there be?

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Posted: 28 November 2012 08:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I’ll take a look for the data I’m thinking of.  Or what I think I’m looking for.  (I’m really hoping I didn’t just have a brain fart, mix some crap up in my head, and make some dumbass claim without verifying it.  *sigh*  Guess we’ll see, eh?)  I lost my old link file a while back so I’ll have to dig through my book collection to find what I’m thinking of.  I’ll get back with you tomorrow.

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Posted: 28 November 2012 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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McGYver,

I think part of the issue here is how one defines “placebo effect.” The casual usage refers to the effects of expectancy and belief, and clearly those won’t obtain where there isn’t any expectation or belief. However, it turns out that is only one element in a constellation of effects which are controlled for in clinical trials by having a placebo group, and many of these effects generate the impression of a specific treatment effect where the treatment is actually inert.

Some of these effects are functions of the disease, such as regression to the mean, spontaneous resolution, and other changes in symptoms that may follow a treatment without being causally related to it. Skeptics are just as likely as anyone else to interpret such changes as the result of the therapy, whether they are in the control group of a clinical trial or just trying out a treatment on their own.

Other effects that generate a false impression of therapeutic benefit, and which are often called “placebo effects” in the context of clinical trials, are functions of the conduct of the trial. The so-called Hawthorne Effect, for example, in which participants in a trial take better overall care of themselves and are more closely monitored while in the study, and consequently who improve even if the test therapy isn’t doing anything. Again, skeptics are as likely as anyone else to experience these effects.

And many of the cognitiv heuristics and other quirks that lead people to conclud a therapy is effective even when it isn’t (confirmation bias, availability heuristic, cognitive dissonance, and so on….) are just as likely to affect people who are dubiousl of faith-based beliefs as anyone else.

So while I think one can isolate the effects of belief and expectancy and hypothesize that self-identifying skeptics are less susceptible to these (though I haven’t seen any actual evidence to support that hypothesis), much of what fools us about the efficacy of medical therapies, and which is lumped under the general term “placebo effects,” seems no less likely to affect skeptics than others.

As for the literature in animals, there is unquestionably a strong placebo effect, both direct and via proxy, evident in clinical trials, so despite the almost certain lack of beliefs about their condition, animals appear to respond to inert therapies at much the same rate human patients do. Here are a few examples:

Caregiver Placebo effects in dogs with osteoarthritis

Placebo effects in canine epilepsy trials

Malek S, Sample SJ, Schwartz Z, Nemke B, Jacobson PB, Cozzi EM, Schaefer SL, Bleedorn JA, Holzman G, Muir P. Effect of analgesic therapy on clinical outcome measures in a randomized controlled trial using client-owned dogs with hip osteoarthritis.
. BMC Vet Res. 2012 Oct 4;8(1):185. [Epub ahead of print]

Is there a placebo effect in animals?

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