The powerful placebo.

@article{Beecher1955ThePP,
  title={The powerful placebo.},
  author={Henry Knowles Beecher},
  journal={Journal of the American Medical Association},
  year={1955},
  volume={159 17},
  pages={
          1602-6
        }
}
  • H. Beecher
  • Published 24 December 1955
  • Medicine
  • Journal of the American Medical Association
Placebos have doubtless been used for centuries by wise physicians as well as by quacks, but it is only recently that recognition of an enquiring kind has been given the clinical circumstance where the use of this tool is essential "... to distinguish pharmacological effects from the effects of suggestion, and... to obtain an unbiased assessment of the result of experiment." It is interesting that Pepper could say as recently as 10 years ago "apparently there has never been a paper published… 

Tables from this paper

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A third way whereby clinicians can use the placebo knowingly yet still stay within the ethical constraints of modern medical practice is outlined.
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Only a well-trained and experienced clinical observer should employ a placebo in establishing the therapeutic value of drugs whilst avoiding undesirable pitfalls.
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  • 2000
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Those engaged in treatment trials must recognize and manage the reality of placebos rather than attempt to eliminate or disparage them, and factors that might influence the placebo effect such as age, gender, and social circumstances need prospective study.
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  • 2016
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Until the first half of the 20th century, the use of placebos such as bread or sugar pills and coloured water, was widespread, thought of as a ‘necessary deception’ and particularly used for ‘neurotic or inadequate patients’.
The placebo effect: powerful, powerless or redundant?
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The view and role of placebos have developed over time, with medicine now firmly entrenched in the age of evidence-based practice, there is a question as to whether it is time to leave the old placebo behind us.
Placebo effect and placebos: what are we talking about? Some conceptual and historical considerations
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The use of placebo as a methodological tool has assumed a leading role in the last 50 years and has become an important role in controlled clinical trials, the main element of the "evidence-based-medicine" paradigm.
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The present study was undertaken in an attempt to provide an approach for small-scale studies that would be as foolproof as possible and one that would have validity even when the sought-for therapeutic effects are not accessible to quantitative measurement.
A study of the placebo response.
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