Posts Tagged ‘Placebo’

The First 100 Years Are the Toughest

Why does the maximum human age seem to hover around the 100-year mark?  Why not 200 or even 500 years?  If we’re to believe accounts in the Torah and Old Testament texts, many ancient people measured their lives in terms of centuries, rather than the decades that we use today.  Adam, for example, is documented as having lived for 930 years, Metheselah for 969 years, and Noah for 950 years.

According to the texts, these men were not simply shriveled husks of their former selves, meagerly surviving and hanging on to the frail thread of life.  At advanced ages, they were active and vital, enjoying their families and even starting new ones!

And why not?  We clearly live in bodies that are built to last.  The Torah states that Noah lived for Continue Reading

The Power Of The Placebo Effect

In 1955, H. K. Beecher, the chief of anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, published a landmark paper entitled “The Powerful Placebo.”1 In it, Beecher described his review of more than two dozen medical case histories and his findings, documenting that up to one-third of the patients healed from essentially nothing. The term used to describe this phenomenon was the placebo response—or, as it is more commonly known, the placebo effect.

Placebo is used to describe any form of treatment where patients are led to believe that they’re experiencing a beneficial procedure or receiving a curative agent, while in reality they’re given something that has no known healing properties.

The placebo can be as simple as a sugar pill or common saline solution or as complex as an actual surgery during which nothing is done. In other words, while the patients have agreed to participate in a medical study, they may not know precisely what their role in it will be. To test the placebo effect, they may undergo all of the experiences of surgery—including anesthesia, incisions, and sutures—while in reality nothing is added, taken away, or changed. Continue Reading