Apparently Placebo Works Best When It's Expensive

Placebo Works Best When It's Expensive

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.

We've known that the bigger the placebo pill, the more powerful it is, and that its color influences mood. But a brand new double-blind randomized controlled study broke new ground.

Parkinson's patients were given a choice of two drugs. One group was told that the drug costs $100 a pill. The other were were told that the same pill costs $1500 a pill. Both were placebo.

58% of the people who took the $100 placebo had improvements in motor coordination and the researchers identified where the changes took place in the brain. 67% had motor improvements when they thought they were taking the more expensive drug. 

Neurology. 2015 Jan 28. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001282. 
Placebo effect of medication cost in Parkinson disease: A randomized double-blind study. Espay AJ, et al.

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