Understanding and harnessing placebo effects: Clearing away the underbrush

Franklin G. Miller, Howard Brody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite strong growth in scientific investigation of the placebo effect, understanding of this phenomenon remains deeply confused. We investigate critically seven common conceptual distinctions that impede clear understanding of the placebo effect: (1) verum/placebo, (2) active/inactive, (3) signal/noise, (4) specific/nonspecific, (5) objective/subjective, (6) disease/illness, and (7) intervention/context. We argue that some of these should be eliminated entirely, whereas others must be used with caution to avoid bias. Clearing away the conceptual underbrush is needed to lay down a path to understanding and harnessing placebo effects in clinical medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

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Placebo Effect
Clinical Medicine
Noise
Placebos
Growth

Keywords

  • clinical medicine
  • placebo effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Philosophy

Cite this

Understanding and harnessing placebo effects : Clearing away the underbrush. / Miller, Franklin G.; Brody, Howard.

In: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 36, No. 1, 02.2011, p. 69-78.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Miller, Franklin G. ; Brody, Howard. / Understanding and harnessing placebo effects : Clearing away the underbrush. In: Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. 2011 ; Vol. 36, No. 1. pp. 69-78.
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