One article on PainSci cites Beecher 1955: Placebo Power Hype
PainSci notes on Beecher 1955:
This is the 1955 paper that launched the Legend of Placebo. Dr. Henry Beecher reported that 35% of 1000 patients were “satisfactorily” treated with a placebo alone. His conclusion catapulted placebo to lasting fame… and wasn't really questioned for a long time.
Kienle and Kiene published a strong criticism of Beecher's findings in 1996, but no one took much notice. Much more prominently, Hróbjartsson and Gøtzsche reported in 2001 in the New England Journal of Medicine that they “found little evidence in general that placebos had powerful clinical effects” and concluded that there is “no justification for the use of placebos” outside clinical trials.
The topic has been hotly debated ever since, but few experts still believe that placebo is “powerful.”
For much more about Beecher and how this all started, see The Legend of the Wartime Placebo
- “The powerful placebo effect: fact or fiction?,” G S Kienle and H Kiene, J Clin Epidemiol, 1997.
- “Is the placebo powerless? An analysis of clinical trials comparing placebo with no treatment,” A Hróbjartsson and P C Gøtzsche, New England Journal of Medicine, 2001.
- “Is the placebo powerless? Update of a systematic review with 52 new randomized trials comparing placebo with no treatment,” A Hróbjartsson and P C Gøtzsche, J Intern Med, 2004.
- “The Legend of the Wartime Placebo,” Jonathan Jarry, www.mcgill.ca.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.