Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Placebo effect

Reconceptualising placebo

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 15 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1086
  1. G Lorimer Moseley, Nuffield medical research fellow
  1. 1University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QX
  1. lorimer.moseley{at}

The notion that placebo responses are responses that are evoked by nothing is nonsense. The study by Kaptchuk et al and the study by Waber et al in JAMA illustrate clearly that the “placebo”’ responses observed are in fact responses to things other than the thing to which we hypothesise a response.1 2 Therefore, placebo responses reflect the limitations …

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