Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Is There a Placebo Effect – Part III

Is this an example of abuse, or torture, or execution, or . . .

No, this is just unicorn medicine alternative medicine.

Of course this works. No side effects. Very affordable (as long as you do not value your life, or you are so healthy that you have great reflexes).

If we really want to see a placebo effect in action, this is the way to do it. We know that the more elaborate the placebo, the more of an effect it has. What could cause patients to really believe in the placebo effect?

Have them risk their lives for the treatments.

“I’ll keep doing this until I’m completely cured,” said Mulyati, twitching visibly as an oncoming passenger train sends an extra rush of current racing through her body.

She leaps from tracks as it approaches and then, after the last carriage rattles slowly by, climbs back into position.[1]

This isn’t red pill vs. blue pill or sticking needles in chi/qi/goofy acupuncture spots. This is wait as long as you can, but if you wait too long, you will be gazpacho.

Do any of these people feel that this treatment works?

Would people really be doing this if they did not believe?

Just how much do we want to defend the idea that subjective improvement is all that matters?[2] [3] [4]

Pseudo-medical treatments are wildly popular in many parts of Asia — where rumors about those miraculously cured after touching a magic stone or eating dung from sacred cows can attract hundreds, sometimes thousands.

Yum. Eating dung from sacred cows. While not as dramatic a way to require true belief, you do have to believe to eat cow $#!+, even if it is from a sacred cow.

You have to want to believe.

Is there any difference?

Thank you to Greg Friese of Medical Author Chat, the EMS EduCast and Everyday EMS Tips for sending me the link.

 

Disclaimer –

 

In writing this, I am assuming that these people are really doing this and that it is not some hoax, which is always possible when dealing with alternative medicine.

One frustrating thing about alternative medicine is that it is impossible to distinguish between things people will really do to themselves and crazy stories that people will make up as parodies of alternative medicine.

Which is the alternative medicine and which is the hoax?

Even if something starts as a hoax, it will probably develop into something sold as real alternative medicine treatment.

 

A hoax cannot be less real than any alternative medicine.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Desperate, sick Indonesians lie across railroad tracks as ‘therapy’
msnbc photoblog
Dara Brown
Web page with a link to video of the same story with more detail

[2] Subjective Improvement vs Objective Improvement
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Is There a Placebo Effect – Part I
Rogue Medic
Article

[4] Is There a Placebo Effect – Part II
Rogue Medic
Article

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Comments

  1. If only these rail riders had easier access to Pomegranate juice: The Doctor and the Pomegranate
    Antioxidants don’t work, but no one wants to hear it.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2300578/pagenum/all/#p2

    • Greg,

      If only these rail riders had easier access to Pomegranate juice: The Doctor and the Pomegranate
      Antioxidants don’t work, but no one wants to hear it.

      It’s all about the magic of “You are somebody special. This will work for you – If you believe enough.?

      Then, if it doesn’t work when it doesn’t work, the reason is obvious – You just didn’t believe enough.

      Blame the victim.

      .

  2. You mean UFO’s aren’t real either?? But I do know that unicorns are real. The car mechanic told me I had one on my engine and that was what the knocking noise was from. Best $500 ever spent to get rid of him. But the noise is still there.

    And Greg, antioxidants don’t work either? I was counting on those magical elixers. Next you’e gonna tell me JWow’s boobs are fake too.

    • Jim,

      You mean UFO’s aren’t real either??

      There are real objects that might be flying and might not be identified. These are UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).

      UFOs are probably not alien space ships, although this is possible. If the UFOs were alien space ships built by a civilization advanced enough to travel here, they would not be so easily spotted, unless they want to be spotted.

      They certainly would not be spotted so often by the least perceptive members of society.

      But I do know that unicorns are real. The car mechanic told me I had one on my engine and that was what the knocking noise was from. Best $500 ever spent to get rid of him. But the noise is still there.

      Me, too. Every time I drive that car, I am reminded of just how real those unicorns are – expensive, too.

      And Greg, antioxidants don’t work either? I was counting on those magical elixers.

      I guess you are SOL.

      Next you’e gonna tell me JWow’s boobs are fake too.

      As my mother will tell people – This is a breast. You are a boob. 🙂

      I doubt that JWow’s breasts are fake – store bought breasts are just as real as home grown breasts. They are also more expensive.

      If they were not real, you could walk over and grab a handful and there would not be a problem. But Your Honor, They aren’t real.

      That would probably result in being sent to real time out for an extended time with some real people who may have committed some very real crimes. This might be an excellent time to discuss the nature of reality with the new friends. 🙂

      .

  3. Are we talking Placebo or Belief?

    (Never mind, I’ll just blog on it; it’s meaty enough! Gimme a few minutes.)

Trackbacks

  1. […] a (now) 3 part series examining the Placebo Effect. You can find the last installment HERE. (I wish I had the patience to put all those neat pictures in MY […]

  2. […] writes Is it Placebo or Belief? at EMS Outside Agitator in response to my post Is There a Placebo Effect – Part III. We will find that the drugs we administer today are not much more powerful to effect healing than […]

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