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Need more energy? Take a placebo!

Need more energy? Take a placebo!
If you can use more energy, feel free to take a placebo. You will become more energetic, even if there are no active substances in those things. And even if you are convinced that such a stupid psychological trick will not work for you, you can still benefit from it. This appears from a study that researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US published in Scientific Reports.

The researchers experimented with 74 people who had been treated for cancer in the past and who continued to suffer from fatigue. Half of them entered the treatment-as-usual group, the other half received placebo's for 3 weeks. The subjects in this latter group took two placebo capsules twice a day.

The subjects knew they used placebo. The researchers explained to them that there are no active substances in the placebo, and that they wondered whether the subjects would get more energy due to the placebo effect.

Need more energy? Take a placebo!

Before and just after the experimental period, the researchers determined the fatigue of the subjects with some validated questionnaires.

The bar charts below show wit how many points the scores for fatigue [left] or the degree to which fatigue reduced the quality of life [right] decreased in the experimental period of 3 weeks. As you can see, the decrease was greater in the placebo group.

Need more energy? Take a placebo!

A week after the first experimental period ended, the second phase of the experiment began. The former placebo group [OLP] did not take placebo for 3 weeks, the former treatment-as-usual group [TAU] did.

Fatigue increased slightly in the former placebo group, but there was no significant rebound. At the same time, fatigue scores plummeted at the former treatment-as-usual group.

Need more energy? Take a placebo!

Need more energy? Take a placebo!

"Some people who thought the placebo wouldn't do anything had a good response", says first author Teri Hoenemeyer in a press release. [ February 9, 2018] "Others who believed it would help didn't have a response."

"Fooling or deceiving patients may be unnecessary for placebo effects to produce benefits, with automatic neurological processes being a possible mechanism for the effects. This has revolutionary implications for how we might exploit the power of placebo effects in clinical practice."

"Cancer survivors report that fatigue is their most distressing symptom, even more distressing than other symptoms like nausea or pain, and clinicians struggle to find ways to help them with it. The effects of the placebo pills on fatigue were so dramatic that we had a number of the study patients ask if they could be given more placebo pills. For ethical reasons, we were unable to do so."

"Participants still had benefits three weeks after they stopped taking the placebo pills, which hasn't been shown before", adds co-author Kevin Fontaine. "The extension of benefits even when the placebo pills are discontinued has been a surprise finding that has many placebo researchers excited."

Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 9;8(1):2784.

Placebos work even if you know you're taking a placebo 05.09.2015

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