The Power of the Mind

A fascinating research study was conducted at Harvard Medical School by Kaptchuk and colleagues in 2010 in PLoS One. The Title is ‘Placebos without deception: A randomized controlled trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The study involved two groups of patients with IBS. One group was given pills that were labeled placebo and were in fact inert (sugar pills), and another group not given specific treatment (control group).

Kaptchuk and Co found that that patients given open-label placebohad clinically meaningful symptom improvement that was significantly better than the no-treatment group.

This clearly highlights the power of the placebo. However whats fascinating, is that the patients actually knew it was a placebo, and they still improved. This just goes to show how powerful and fascinating the mind is.