22 02, 2016

The Placebo Goes Mainstream

Whereas once heavy opiates like OxyContin and Vicodin were reserved for extreme pain or cancer, they’re becoming more commonly prescribed for arthritis and other conditions. Every year this results in thousands of emergency room deaths. While efforts to regulate and clamp down on abuse are being made, it won’t make a dent in the demand unless we find a new treatment. Enter the placebo. Whether it’s receiving fake acupuncture treatments to relieve the symptoms of menopause or ingesting sugar pills to run faster, it’s becoming evermore difficult to deny the power of the placebo. We’ve been saying this all along, [...]

5 11, 2015

Are You Old?: How Your Thinking Impacts Your Age

We’ve all heard the adage “age is nothing but a number.” Life is a little more complicated than this quote allows but there is truth in the saying. As we know, how we think impacts how we feel and vice versa. The same principle applies to our view of aging. What comes to mind when you hear the word “old?” Do you picture a wrinkly, forgetful person who suffers from some kind of chronic ailment? Don’t feel bad if this is the vision that came to you because that is the one presented to us. Portrayals of older people in [...]

26 10, 2015

Cross Your Fingers, Knock on Wood: Do Superstitions Work?

When flying Jennifer Aniston always boards an airplane with her right foot first. Michael Jordan wore his college shorts underneath his NBA uniform for his entire career. Jordan ended up winning six championships and the 46-year-old Aniston has flown countless times without incident. Of course you don’t have to be famous to believe in superstitions. Many of us have uttered the phrase “knock on wood” or avoided stepping under ladders in the hopes of warding off bad luck. Superstitions are largely innocuous and allow for at least the illusion of control in situations where we feel like we have none. [...]

29 07, 2015

Can the Mind Heal Parkinson’s?

Modern medicine has changed the course of human history.  Advances in disease prevention and treatment have allowed us to live longer, healthier lives.  Our expanded knowledge of the human body has provided order to what seemed like chaos.  We currently have more control of our destiny than any other time in history. Yet, for all the advances in science and medicine many answers remain. The strength of current Western methodology is its reliance on evidence gathered through study and/or experimentation.  This strength can also be seen as a weakness because anything viewed as not “mainstream” is either ignored or ridiculed [...]

11 12, 2014

There Was Nothing magical about the Band-Aid. Or Was There?

I’m sure all of us cut ourselves at some point during our childhood and the first thing we did was to rush directly to our mothers for help. She may have addressed this seemingly devastating trauma at the time with all of her attention, a small detailed examination followed by soap and water, some calm reassuring words, a warm embrace, and then a Band-Aid. At that moment, the pain very likely went away…and you ‘felt’ better. What you experienced was likely your first conscious experience of the placebo response. Here is why. The moment you correlated a change in your [...]