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The fascinating story of placebos – and why doctors should use them more often

By Jeremy Howick, Director of the Oxford Empathy Programme, University of Oxford
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Plato’s cure for headaches involved:

a certain leaf, but there was a charm to go with the remedy; and if one uttered the charm at the moment of its application, the remedy made one perfectly well; but without the charm there was no efficacy in the leaf.

We would now call Plato’s “charm” a placebo. Placebos have been around for thousands of years and are the most widely studied treatments in the history of medicine.…


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