Mind over Matter: Placebo Effect


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Mind over Matter, we hear it all the time. Going hand in hand with the placebo effect it is defined by medicine.net as follows:  "A remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo -- a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution -- can sometimes improve a patient's condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful."

This idea is truly remarkable. The logic of the placebo effect is especially true in this day in age. With modern medicine there are many articles where patients have had recoveries or improved depression from these trials. This speaks to the amazing power of the human brain and mind. In an article written by Linda Carroll titled "Placebo's power goes beyond the mind," she states "Recent reports show that anticipation of relief from a placebo can lead to an actual easing of aches, when the brain makes more of its own pain-dousing opiates."

With this idea in place I offer up this proposal. If you give athletes a supplement that you tell them will make them run faster, jump higher, and be overall better athletes will they then have those abilities?

After all this highly scientific clip from the movie "Space Jam," nearly proves my hypothesis!
Space Jam Clip

2 Comments

I find this to be very interesting. It's weird how a fake medicine can help people just because they think it's real. I also think that people can be their own placebo. My friends always think they're sick and actually start coughing and sneezing due to this, but when it's time to go out they all of a sudden feel better. I think it is very psychological.

I found a really interesting article on placebos in every day life.
http://motherboard.vice.com/2010/11/8/that-elevator-‘close-door’-button-doesn-t-work-and-other-everyday-placebos

It says how the walk button and the elevator 'close door' button don't actually work but we just think it does. Well don't I feel stupid.

I think the placebo effect is a topic that is similar to the “Does Prayer Heal” we covered in class. There have been studies conducted on both but it isn’t 100% clear if something else helped to generate a certain outcome. I think athletes would be a great demographic to test out a placebo effect on. There are so many supplements that they take to gain an edge on their competitors. I believe many athletes would claim that they saw an increase in performance if they were told what they were taking was going to help them.

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