Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Internists say they prescribe placebos on occasion

07.01.2008
In the first study examining American physicians' use of placebos in clinical practice in the 21st Century, 45 percent of Chicago internists report they have used a placebo at some time during their clinical practice researchers report in the January issue of Journal of General Internal Medicine.

This study indicates a need for greater recognition of the use of placebos and unproven therapies and discussion about its implications," say the study authors, Rachel Sherman, a fourth year medical student at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine, and John Hickner, MD, MSc, professor of family medicine, at the University of Chicago and University of Chicago Medical Center.

The authors sent questionnaires inquiring about placebo use to 466 internists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and University of Illinois – Chicago. Fifty percent (231) of the physicians responded.

"Placebos have been used in medicine since ancient times, and remain both clinically relevant and philosophically interesting. In addition to their recognized use as controls in clinical trials, this study suggests that placebos themselves are viewed as therapeutic tools in medical practice," says Sherman.

Of the respondents who reported using placebos in clinical practice, 34 percent introduced the placebos to the patient as "a substance that may help and will not hurt." Nineteen percent said, "it is medication," and nine percent said, "it is medicine with no specific effect." Only four percent of the physicians explicitly said, "it is a placebo." In addition, 33 percent of the physicians reported they gave other information to patients, including, "this may help you but I am not sure how it works."

Only 12 percent of respondents said that placebo use should be categorically prohibited. The authors write that in the broader ethics literature, the routine use of placebos is controversial. Some commentators on informed consent and non-deceptive therapeutics caution against the use of placebos in medical practice. Others propose that the placebo effect can be harnessed in various therapeutic contexts that do not pose ethical dilemmas.

In addition, the authors say a growing number of physicians believe in mind-body connection; which means what a person thinks can impact the health and well-being of the body. Rather than using placebos to differentiate between patients who were faking their symptoms and those with genuine symptoms, as the majority of physicians did according to research several decades ago, 96 percent of physicians in this study believed placebos can have therapeutic benefits for patients.

The physicians most commonly defined a placebo as an intervention not expected to have an effect through a known or specific physiologic mechanism. Researchers then asked physicians about the possible benefits of other treatment and factors that may influence health according to this definition of a placebo.

Physicians responded to questions about whether there might be psychological or physiological benefits to meditation, yoga, or relaxation techniques; biofeedback; prayer or spirituality; a good social support system; having good doctor-patient rapport, and interior design of the healthcare environment. In most cases, the majority of physicians believed in both psychological and physiological benefits.

Scot Roskelley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchospitals.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>