Modern Research into The Placebo Effect, and its Ethical Implications
Abstract: Introduction Placebos have been used in medical treatments since the dawn of medicine. The placeboeffect is referred to as a beneficial effect of a treatment which cannot be attributed to thepharmacological component of the treatment given. Aim and Method We attempt to understand the current research regarding the placebo effect, its mechanismsand driving factors. We utilize hermeneutics, text-based analytics and argument analysis toanswer our ethical questions regarding the usage of placebo and the placebo effect. Results Classical conditioning and expectation have been accredited as the two most prominentfactors driving a placebo effect. Recent research focuses on identifying minor factorsinfluencing these prominent factors. Through modern imaging techniques researchers haveidentified physiological responses to the placebo effect.We pose four different ways in which a placebo treatment option could be considered ineveryday medicine. We also discuss whether the placebo effect should be used for itsbeneficial effects in all medical treatments, and how this could affect medicine and healthcarepractitioners. Conclusion Current research provides us with substantial evidence that the placebo effect has aphysiological component. It also provides us with explanations as to how this effect can beutilized in every day medical care. The placebo effect can even be utilized without deceivingthe patient which has always been the biggest argument against incorporating it in day to daymedicine. However, there is still lacking evidence of when a placebo effect can be utilized toits full potential which limits its current clinical applications.
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