Pursuing the Placebo Effect

In February 2012, PiPS Director Ted Kaptchuk and PiPS Senior Faculty Arthur Barsky presented at Talks@Twelve, a quarterly lecture given to the Harvard Medical School community. We just received the a link to the video filmed by the Harvard Medical School Communications Office. To watch, click here.

Photo by Angela Alberti

PiPS on Channel 5 News

Patients get positive results in ‘honest’ placebo study

Excerpt: “Oh, it was awful! You couldn’t leave the house. You were sick all the time,” said Linda Buonanno, who has been plagued by irritable bowel syndrome for 18 years. “Intestinal pains, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, all that. And it’s very difficult.”

From pills to drastic diet changes, she’s tried it all, desperate for relief. But nothing worked until she signed up for a new Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center study.

“They said it’s the placebo effect. It’s mind over matter,” said Buonanno.

To watch the full story, click here.

Ted Kaptchuk discusses placebos with Heather Kahn

Can A Sugar Pill Help You Feel Better? Surprising New Research on Placebos

Ted Kaptchuk, Director of the Program in Placebo Studies & the Therapeutic Encounter at BIDMC, talks about the role of the placebo to health and describes the surprising results of a recent study which found that patients with irritable bowel syndrome felt better after receiving placebo treatments – even though they knew they were getting sugar pills.

Click here to view video

Placebos in the Danish Daily Information: “Your Own Medicine”

[Translation]: The placebo effect has always had a bad reputation in modern medicine. It was pure imagination, calcium tablets and at most, proof that a product did not work. But now doctors, scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists are seeking to give it a new and better image. The placebo effect is there and it works, so why not find out how and use it?

Read the original (in Danish) here or a translation here.

Ted and Ira Talk Placebos on Science Friday

From NPR: A placebo can take the form of a sugar pill or even a fake surgery. It’s often used to test the effectiveness of a trial drug. Ted Kaptchuk, director of Harvard University’s Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter, discusses potential applications for the healing power of placebos. Listen (or read the transcript) here.

PiPS Director Ted Kaptchuk on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)

from MPR: 

From performing acupuncture in a tiny Massachusetts clinic to directing the Program in Placebo Studies and Theraputic Encounters at Harvard, Ted Kaptchuk has worked to understand the placebo effect and its place in medicine. He joins us today to discuss his work and findings. Listen here.