December 2, 2005
Duping the Brain Into Healing the Body
Researchers analyze the mysterious placebo effect
The placebo effect — it's all in your head. When you swallow sugar pills instead of powerful medicine and your symptoms disappear, it's all thanks to the power of your mind.
How does the brain perform this parlor trick? In the past, scientists suspected that any apparent health benefits from placebos had little more basis in biology than did sleight of hand. In studies of new drugs, patients might tell their doctors