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The Powerful Placebo

From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician

Arthur K. Shapiro, M.D., and Elaine Shapiro, Ph.D.

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Ranging from antiquity to modern times, this history of the placebo effect is especially timely in light of renewed interest in the mind-body relationship.

Until this century, most medications prescribed by physicians were pharmacologically inert, if not harmful. That is, physicians were prescribing placebos or worse without knowing it. In a sense, then, the history of medical treatment until relatively recently is the history of the placebo effect. Based on the authors' lifelong study and clinical research, this is a comprehensive and scholarly examination of the placebo effect. The authors...

Ranging from antiquity to modern times, this history of the placebo effect is especially timely in light of renewed interest in the mind-body relationship.

Until this century, most medications prescribed by physicians were pharmacologically inert, if not harmful. That is, physicians were prescribing placebos or worse without knowing it. In a sense, then, the history of medical treatment until relatively recently is the history of the placebo effect. Based on the authors' lifelong study and clinical research, this is a comprehensive and scholarly examination of the placebo effect. The authors begin by surveying the use of placebos from antiquity to modern times. They also examine the development, use, and validity of the double-blind, controlled clinical trial. And they present their own study of the placebo effect in more than 1000 patients.

Demonstrating both the magnitude and the limitations of the placebo effect, the book helps to clarify knotty issues ranging from the evaluation of therapies to the ethics of conducting controlled studies in which patients are deliberately given placebos. With the renewed interest in the mind-body relationship as well as in the role of placebos in new and alternative medical procedures and therapies, the findings of this book are especially timely.

Reviews

Reviews

This thought-provoking book forces us to reconsider the worthlessness of the lowly placebo... The authors have tackled a timely subject, contrasting ancient testimonials and histories of use with modern controlled approaches for determining efficacy and risks of complex therapeutic mixtures.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
296
ISBN
9780801866753
Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. The Placebo Effect in Medical History
Chapter 2. The Semantics of the Placebo
Chapter 3. Fraud, Faith, and Fads
Chapter 4. The Placebo Effect in the Twentieth

Preface and Acknowledgments
Chapter 1. The Placebo Effect in Medical History
Chapter 2. The Semantics of the Placebo
Chapter 3. Fraud, Faith, and Fads
Chapter 4. The Placebo Effect in the Twentieth Century
Chapter 5. Psychiatry and Other Psychotherapies
Chapter 6. The History of Clinical Trials
Chapter 7. The History of the Double-Blind Procedure
Chapter 8. Ethical Controversies about the Use of Placebos, the Double Blind, and Controlled Clinical Trials
Chapter 9. How Blind Is Blind?
Chapter 10. Predicting Placebo Response
Chapter 11. Summary and Conclusions
References
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Arthur K. Shapiro, M.D.

Arthur K. Shapiro, M.D., was clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.
Featured Contributor

Elaine Shapiro, Ph.D.

Elaine Shapiro, Ph.D., is associate clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.