The idea of the placebo effect
Placebo effect: Also called the placebo response. A remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo -- a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution -- can sometimes improve a patient's condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful.
History of placebo effect
The first to recognize and demonstrate the placebo effect was English physician John Haygarth in 1799. He tested a popular medical treatment of his time, called "Perkins tractors", which were metal pointers supposedly able to 'draw out' disease. They were sold at the extremely high price of five guineas, and Haygarth set out to show that the high cost was unnecessary. …show more content…
The nocebo effect is the adverse reaction experienced by a patient who receives such a therapy. Conversely, a placebo is an inert substance or form of therapy that creates a beneficial response in a patient. The phenomenon by which a placebo creates a beneficial response is called the placebo effect. In contrast to the placebo effect, the nocebo effect is relatively obscure.
Both nocebo and placebo effects are presumably psychogenic. Rather than being caused by a biologically active component of the placebo, these reactions might result from a patient's expectations and perceptions of how the substance will affect them. Though they presumably originate from psychological sources, nocebo effects can be either psychological or physiological. Statistical effects like that of the law of large numbers have also been proposed as explanation for both placebo or nocebo
According to current pharmacological knowledge and the current understanding of cause and effect, a placebo contains no chemical (or any other agent) that could possibly cause any of the observed worsening in the subject's symptoms. Thus, any change for the worse must be due to some subjective …show more content…
The term "nocebo response" was coined in 1961 by Walter Kennedy (he actually spoke of a "nocebo reaction").
He had observed that another, entirely different and unrelated, and far more recent meaning of the term "placebo" was emerging into far more common usage in the technical literature (see homonym), namely that a "placebo response" (or "placebo reaction") was a "pleasant" response to a real or sham/dummy treatment (this new and entirely different usage was based on the Latin meaning of the word placebo, "I shall please").
Kennedy chose the Latin word nocebo ("I shall harm") because it was the opposite of the Latin word "placebo", and used it to denote the counterpart of the placebo response: namely, an "unpleasant" response to the application of real or sham treatment.
Kennedy very strongly emphasized that his specific usage of the term "nocebo" did not refer to "the iatrogenic action of drugs": in other words, according to Kennedy, there was no such thing as a "nocebo effect", there was only a "nocebo