138th out of 174 books — 166 voters
The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
A mere "symbol" of medicine--the sugar pill, saline injection, doctor in a white lab coat--the placebo nonetheless sometimes produces "real" results. Medical science has largely managed its discomfort with this phenomenon by discounting the placebo effect, subtracting it as an impurity in its data through double-blind tests of new treatments and drugs. This book is committ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by Harvard University Press
(first published 1997)
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This is a really dry one, and not as informative as I'd expected (because it's a collection of articles, so there's overlap between the authors). Still it's a good guide to medical thoughts on how placebos work, or if they do, the prevailing theory being that it's close to a conditioned response brought on by getting the magic potion from the wise old healer. The consensus seems to be that it's worth studying in more detail, but unlikely to result in curing cancer by force of will or the like.