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The Power of Belief Complementary Therapies, Placebos and Healing. Gus Cairns. www.guscairns.com. Preparatory work. Think of three adjectives that describe the kind of person you would like to be. e.g.: If you are depressed think ‘happy’ or ‘fortunate’ or ‘loved’ or ‘gorgeous’
“Two things are certain about pills that treat depression: Antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft work. And so do sugar pills.”Washington Post, Tuesday, May 7, 2002
“A trial last month that compared the herbal remedy St. John's wort against the anti-depressant Zoloft. St. John's wort fully cured 24 percent of the depressed people who received it, and Zoloft cured 25 percent.
but the placebo fully cured 32 percent…What's more, the placebos, caused profound changes in the same areas of the brain affected by the medicines. One researcher has ruefully concluded that a higher percentage of depressed patients get better on placebos today than 20 years ago.”
51 patients with major depression. 8-week study.
52 % receiving antidepressants responded
38% receiving placebos responded
Immediate decrease of prefrontal lobe activity in patients given antidepressants
Gradual increase in prefrontal lobe activity in patients given placebo
“Surgery has been slow to take up the challenge of British epidemiologistArchie Cochrane: to prevent the introduction of new therapeuticprocedures until randomised trials have shown them to be moreeffective than existing treatments... The fact that surgical trials cannot be double blind or placebocontrolled is often seen as a major methodological problem.” (BMJ, 1995, 311:1243-1244 (11 November)
“Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who underwent placebo arthroscopic surgery were just as likely to report pain relief as those who received the real procedure, according to a Department of Veterans Affairs and Baylor College of Medicine study published in the July 11, 2002 New England Journal of Medicine.”
“During the hypnotic state one part of the brain reports low levels of pain, while another reports a high level. After coming out of hypnosis the subjects report that they did feel pain - but under hypnosis a ‘hidden observer’ in a dissociated part of their brain told then they were unable to perceive it.”
Michael Shermer, The Borderlands of Science, Oxford 2001