Mind Over Matter
Placebo, Confidence, and Certainty: Are They Related?
Mike Pauletich believed he had undergone surgery to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms during a trial at Stanford University in 2011. Parkinson’s disease is a difficult degenerative disease that has no cure, where current treatments simply try to retard the progression of the disease. The Stanford study involved both an actual and a “placebo” surgery in which a drug was or was not administered, and Mr. Pauletich not only had a good result from the study procedure, his outcomes far surpassed expectations. Many of the chronic effects he had experienced were actually reversed, such that you could hardly tell he had the disease at all. When the results came in at the conclusion of the research trial, those who received the actual treatment, on a whole, didn’t improve any better than the control group who had received a sham surgery. A researcher looking at the data afterwards noticed something remarkable: Mike had received the sham surgery! Continue reading