Overweight & Obesity

Liraglutide can help adolescents with obesity manage their weight

Liraglutide 3.0 mg, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity to help adults with obesity manage their weight, appears to help ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

The placebo effect and psychedelic drugs: tripping on nothing?

There has been a lot of recent interest in the use of psychedelic drugs to treat depression. A new study from McGill suggests that, in the right context, some people may experience psychedelic-like effects from placebos alone. ...

Health

Reduction noted in transfusion burden with luspatercept

(HealthDay)—For patients with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia, significantly more have a reduction in transfusion burden with receipt of luspatercept versus placebo, according to a study published in the March 26 issue ...

Medications

Interleukin-1β inhibition linked to reduced incidence of anemia

(HealthDay)—Inhibition of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) with canakinumab is associated with reduced incident anemia as well as improved hemoglobin levels among patients with baseline anemia, according to research published online ...

Medications

Iron chelation therapy treats iron overload in MDS

(HealthDay)—Iron chelation therapy (ICT) seems beneficial for iron-overloaded patients with low- or intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), according to a study published online March 24 in the Annals of Internal ...

Addiction

Gabapentin seems efficacious for alcohol use disorder

(HealthDay)—Gabapentin appears to be efficacious for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (AUD), especially among those with high alcohol withdrawal, according to a study published online March 9 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Medications

Antibiotics, corticosteroids beneficial in COPD exacerbations

(HealthDay)—For adults with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), antibiotics and systemic corticosteroids are associated with less treatment failure, according to a review published online Feb. ...

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Placebo

A placebo is a sham medical intervention. In one common placebo procedure, a patient is given an inert sugar pill, told that it may improve his/her condition, but not told that it is in fact inert. Such an intervention may cause the patient to believe the treatment will change his/her condition; and this belief does indeed sometimes have a therapeutic effect, causing the patient's condition to improve. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

Placebos are widely used in medicine, and the placebo effect is a pervasive phenomenon; in fact, it is part of the response to any active medication. However, the deceptive nature of the placebo creates tension between the Hippocratic Oath and the honesty of the doctor-patient relationship. The placebo effect points to the importance of perception and the brain's role in physical health.

Since the publication of Henry K. Beecher's The Powerful Placebo in 1955 the phenomenon has been considered to have clinically important effects. This view was notably challenged when in 2001 a systematic review of clinical trials concluded that there was no evidence of clinically important effects, except perhaps in the treatment of pain and continuous subjective outcomes. The article received a flurry of criticism, but the authors later published a Cochrane review with similar conclusions. Most studies have attributed the difference from baseline till the end of the trial to a placebo effect, but the reviewers examined studies which had both placebo and untreated groups in order to distinguish the placebo effect from the natural progression of the disease.

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