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The revenge of the son of the myth of “placebos without deception” 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

You might have seen a news item — just like a nearly identical one in 2010 — about placebos working on back pain even when the patient knows it isn’t real medicine: “placebo without deception” supposedly. Dr. Gorski peels that claim apart like a mandarin orange and devours it in a new article: “The revenge of the son of the myth of ‘placebos without deception’.” In a nutshell …

Is it a non-deceptive placebo if you do it by saying “this fake medicine is really awesome”? Still no. That’s just a regular placebo — very old school. There’s really nothing new here. There wasn’t in 2010, and there isn’t now. It’s not placebo “without deception,” but placebo with deception about the value of placebo itself.

It’s just more hype about the “power” of placebo, and I’ve now updated that article with some analysis of this “news.”