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Letters Placebo misery

Escaping from placebo prison

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 12 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1898
  1. Jeremy Howick, MRC/ESRC interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellow1
  1. 1Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF
  1. jeremy.howick{at}

    Nunn is correct: there is no such thing as the placebo.1 People slap the label placebo on treatments that have a host of distinct factors with potentially therapeutic effects, including:

    • Hawthorne effects (potential therapeutic benefit resulting simply from participants’ knowing that …

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