Friday, 18 April 2008


If you don't already read the sceptical comic Cectic regularly, you should. If you need more convincing than my say-so, then take a look at this, latest, comic:

So one question remains - did the author read my mind, or my blog? I'm thinking the former is actually more likely.


Asclepius said...

Clearly the implications of the comic arent pleasant, however placebos that dont do such damage are slightly more useful.

Mind over matter is probably the most impressive commonly occurring phenomenon in medicine. Unfortunately we are not allowed to dish out placebos. This came along with the rules against concealing or altering medications for dementia patients (eg. mushing pills up in their food). This is further evidence that 'political correctness' isnt concerned with belief its concerned with not pissing off big organisations *cough*Vatican*cough*. I'm actually surprised a lot of these political correctness violations arent covered under commercial law.

In conclusion people are weird and alternative medicine is a tool of the insane.

Darkwinter said...

I certainly wouldn't want to dispute the utility of placebos, particularly given my lack of research in that area. I know that Mark Crislip of QuackCast disputes the power of the placebo, denying (if I understood him correctly) the existence of a "placebo effect" as such. You'll definitely need to listen to that particular podcast though, because I may be misrepresenting him. I'll hook you up with the relevant episode if you want.

Darkwinter said...

Ah, here it is.

Asclepius said...

Oh where do I start criticising that podcast? Lets start at the beginning. Most if not all suggestions for the effectiveness of placebos are analgesic based. I have nor will I ever argue that a plusebo can cure disease, but it can treat pain. This gentleman is an MD in infectious diseases, these DO require medicinal treatment. And frankly it sounds like all his years of prescribing have gone to his head, This was mostly self-indulgent twoddle.

His statement 'stupidly think that perception of reality is reality' rubbed me the wrong way, as unless he as conclusive proof this isnt true it warrents an execution order for an MD.

My attitude towards this man is not entirely based on 'when things go wrong blame the nurse' however that didnt help.

Lastly, when he ran out of articles to take out of context he used MASH which as i'm sure any of the actors, writers and directors of the show would agree is FICTIONAL.

Darkwinter said...

Much as I'd enjoy a discussion of this topic (and I'll look around on some fora if you want to take this further), I'm not at all well-read on this matter, though I do remember that podcast striking me as a little off. I'd like to defend the MASH reference, though - they were always careful to portray the practice of medicine in a realistic light; Crislip was referencing it *as* fiction which got it wrong, not as evidence.

There are 94 threads on the UK skeptics forum which mention placebos if you want to take a look.