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BBC trust me I’m a doctor tests a placebo for back pain and sees significant results

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Cinders66, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Cinders66

    Cinders66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Can my brain cure my back pain? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45721670

    Not sure what to think of this, is it good it can prove the placebo effect or bad drs will think that a common, debilitating, unexplained often condition involving pain can be helped by tricking the mind?
     
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  2. John Mac

    John Mac Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This bit confused me
    Wouldn't people who are more "open to new experiences" be more likely to fall for a con?
     
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  3. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I haven't looked at this in detail but it sounds as if the study was illegal - giving people placebos without them knowing it. That is not full informed consent. You can probably be sent to prison for that! Or at least dismissed from your job for misconduct.
     
  4. Jonathan Edwards

    Jonathan Edwards Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Looking more closely it seems that people were told they might get a placebo but they were not told the objective of the study or that everyone was going to get a placebo. That sounds equally illegal.
     
  5. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    They clearly cannot have read Wessely's book upon clinical trials then.
     
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  6. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Can my brain cure the bursitis in my right shoulder? I'm about to tell myself that this gluten free Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart in my hand is the cure for it. I BELIEVE! I eat one daily. It's the cure.

    Will it bring down the inflammation?

    Why do they always choose back pain and IBS for these things? Things that arent seen in scans? Things that are, possibly, ALL IN YOUR HEAD? (not my belief, obvs).
     
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  7. Keela Too

    Keela Too Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Because they are things With no objective measure, and so subjective answers can be managed to play to their narrative?
     
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  8. large donner

    large donner Guest

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    Does this means they selected out back pain sufferers who responded to a placebo from other equally suffering back pain subjects?

    At what point were they declared the "most aware and open to new experiences", were they pre selected into a subject group while others where put into another subject group for the same study?

    If they were declared such after the study was there a reporter bias wherby if people responded no change in symptoms they were simply declared closed to new experiences and the least aware. How do they know that there was zero objective change in either group or not? What tool did they use to make such judgements of "aware and open to new experiences"?

    Let me guess, the people who declared the most improvement showed a correlation with being "open to new experiences and aware"?

    If the whole study was subjective reporting why would the investigators only believe the "open to new experiences and aware" group and not headline the other group and report on how the placebo had failed to show objective or subjective improvement?

    What percentage of people were "open and aware" compared to those who were not.

    I presume they use the same tactics in stage hypnotism to make a good show.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  9. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Be reasonable. It's only the BBC. Can't expect the same standards as S4ME.
     
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  10. large donner

    large donner Guest

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    People who are more aware and open to new experiences are more likely to be abducted by aliens.
     
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  11. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is probably incorrect, at least there is probably no way of verifying it. It is probably possible to verify if people who are more aware and open to new experiences are likely to say, or believe, they have been abducted by aliens.

    But i probably can't prove it.

    Maybe.
     
  12. large donner

    large donner Guest

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    Correct. Maybe best to use the same study design to prove back pain placebo outcome in that case. The BBC will run with it as positive proof.

    That report seems to be mixing up three different studies with different designs. Its so bad that the BBC cannot make sense of a simple claim and know exactly what they think they are claiming.
     
  13. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'll believe it when they put their hands in a flame and enjoy it by sheer willpower of dominating their pain.

    There is way too much magical thinking in modern medicine. For all the flak they give about alternative medicine and mock patients for trying weird stuff, many medical professionals are just as gullible about wishful thinking, just about different things. Something that can affect a few % of something is statistically significant but it's not a damn universal cure. Can we not somehow get rid of belief in magic? Is that really too much to ask?
     
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  14. rvallee

    rvallee Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    To quote professor Farnsworth: it wouldn't be fair to change the outcome by measuring it.
     
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  15. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For work, I used to visit a Mr Kipling, with a big Mr Kipling van parked on his drive. I liked to think that he had got sick of the glamour of the big city and was content to live in a modest semi in an obscure area of the country. While always wearing a white vest. Just sitting there, inventing cakes.
     
  16. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think that the 'power of placebo' can be really over-hyped, and often seems to be conflated with biased reporting, but I also wouldn't be amazed if some people did find their health could be improved by some form of 'positive thinking'.

    I also think that the promotion of 'positive' myths in medicine can be really dangerous, causing problems to individual patients and within wider society.

    It looks like this programme is going to be 'personal story' based, and we've seen how this approach can be used to promote almost any narrative. Who knows, maybe there was some miraculous recovery prompted by placebo? Maybe they followed someone who would have improved anyway? It will be interesting to see if they use anything more than subjective self-report for the outcomes of their experiment.
     
  17. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    The program about this is a Horizon program at 9pm tonight on BBC2, for anyone in the UK who feels like watching.
     
  18. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Mosley is in it ....so enough said ...perhaps he has a new book in mind on the back of the tv program ....”the power of diet and mind over matter” perhaps?

    I’ve noticed he is now admitting he isnt a practicing doctor and really a journalist. Be great if he got some negative publicity for this though ...he is almost as annoying as Jamie Oliver or Bear Grylles
     
  19. Ravn

    Ravn Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This thread reminded me of one of Cort's blogs discussing a connection between inflammation and the placebo effect.

    Note that the study this is based on is specific to depression (and that I haven't read the study and have zero idea of its quality): The Promise and Limitations of Anti-Inflammatory Agents for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. Charles L. Raison. Curr Topics Behav Neurosci DOI 10.1007/7854_2016_26

    https://www.healthrising.org/blog/2018/01/28/depression-fm-chronic-fatigue-anti-inflammatories/
     
  20. MEMarge

    MEMarge Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This is the guy who was also featured in the programme
    "Oxford PHILOSOPHER and MEDICAL RESEARCHER, Dr. Jeremy Howick has conducted groundbreaking studies about placebos and why we need unbiased experiments. He has degrees from Dartmouth College, the London School of Economics, and the University of Oxford. He has over 80 academic publications in top journals such as the British Medical Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, and The Lancet. His textbook The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine spearheaded a new sub-discipline. He collaborates about placebo treatments and the need for rigorous evidence with the National Institutes of Health in the United States, the National Institutes of Health Research in the United Kingdom, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in Canada, and Harvard University. He has won three teaching awards, appears regularly on television and has written for the Times, the HUFFINGTON POST, and THECONVERSATION. He is currently working on a mega-study of the benefits of doctor empathy."
     
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