Browsing by Subject "Placebo"

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  • Louhiala, Pekka; Hemila, Harri; Puustinen, Raimo (2014)
    There is an obvious need for a critical discussion of the concepts ‘placebo’ and ‘placebo effect’. In a recent paper on the use of placebos in clinical medicine, Gold and Lichtenberg note the conceptual difficulties but use the terminology in a confused way throughout their paper. In our response, we demonstrate these problems with a few examples from their paper.
  • Louhiala, Pekka; Puustinen, Raimo; Hemilä, Harri (Public Library of Science, 2013)
    Howick et al. have reported the findings of a survey that addressed the use of placebos among primary care practitioners in the United Kingdom. They adopted methodology similar to that used in previous studies performed in other countries; however, the use of this approach also means that they repeated the conceptual confusion of the previous surveys. Therefore the findings are not useful. ... The paper’s main finding “placebos are commonly used in UK primary care” is not correct. Only 0.9% of the responding general practitioners reported using pure placebos frequently. The frequency with which impure placebos are used is irrelevant because the concept is useless, as described above. Misleading a patient by administering inert substances without the explicit consent of the patient is unethical. The authors' proposal to “develop ethical and cost-effective placebos” is not possible because saving money by misleading patients is unethical. There is substantial conceptual confusion in the area of placebo and placebo-effect research, and the paper by Howick et al. does not help to reduce this confusion.
  • Louhiala, Pekka; Puustinen, Raimo; Hemilä, Harri (2013)
    Howick et al. have reported the findings of a survey that addressed the use of placebos among primary care practitioners in the United Kingdom. They adopted methodology similar to that used in previous studies performed in other countries; however, the use of this approach also means that they repeated the conceptual confusion of the previous surveys. Therefore the findings are not useful. ... The paper’s main finding “placebos are commonly used in UK primary care” is not correct. Only 0.9% of the responding general practitioners reported using pure placebos frequently. The frequency with which impure placebos are used is irrelevant because the concept is useless, as described above. Misleading a patient by administering inert substances without the explicit consent of the patient is unethical. The authors' proposal to “develop ethical and cost-effective placebos” is not possible because saving money by misleading patients is unethical. There is substantial conceptual confusion in the area of placebo and placebo-effect research, and the paper by Howick et al. does not help to reduce this confusion.