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Placebo effect

  1. Apr 18, 2004 #1
    So what causes this? I was at a clinic the other day, waiting on my girlfriends mom to get out, and was reading a big-muscle-guy magazine. I was looking at the performance enhancers/weight loss formulas/muscle building/etc in there (do any of these really work?), and I noticed ads like this:

    "On (WhateverBrand) people lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks, with placebo they lost 12.5" (but it was represented in bar-graph format)

    So the people on the stuff being tested lost weight, but also people on the placebo lost weight, just not as much. I'd (probably wrongly) assume both groups led similar lifestyles, and that as much as possible was kept constant between the experimental and control groups.

    So, why did the placebo group lose weight? In a broader aspect, why does the placebo group get any effect at all?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2004 #2


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    For things like weight loss, some of the effect is probably due to dieting or additional exercise that goes along with the reasons someone is motivated to take a diet pill. That one example is probably far more straightforward than most other instances of the placebo effect. I think we discussed this fairly recently here. I think the bottom line is that we don't really know, but it might be the expectation that it will do something that reduces stress-related symptoms or something like that.
  4. Apr 18, 2004 #3
    Well I am not so sure of the correct answer to this question, but I sure bet I know where it can be found.

    The 'placebo' effect is the one constant working solution in all experiments, from AIDS drugs, to aspirin, to Vitamen C (hmm, Masters and Johnson, Viagra too?)

    Why dont we focus on the 'placebo effect' that seems to have a small but effective functioning demonstration in every and all experiments?

    Like I heard someone funny once say
    " Sounds like I gotta get me some of them placebos!"

  5. Apr 18, 2004 #4
    Could the placebo effect be more of a psychological reaction? For example, if someone takes a placebo they think "hmm... I took a pill, maybe ill get better" and they are more motivated and less stressed about the problem.
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