Monday, March 7, 2011

The Placebo Effect or simply the art of caring

I am fascinated with this recent article on

I read with great interest all the theories put forward in this article to explain the healing effect of placebos. Irritable bowel syndrome cured by a sugar pill, depression cured by antidepressant with little effect, sham treatments doing wonders....what is the secret?

The article raises interesting questions with regard to placebo effectiveness: How important is seeing a doctor that believes in the treatment? and I will have to add: how important is to see one that cares for the patient!

Yes indeed medicine is an art and modern practitioners have not mastered it.

Francis Peabody said in 1925
" ....For the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient"

What happened to caring for the patient?....As we lose our trust in our doctors who are too preoccupied with the scientific mechanisms of a disease, we also lose trust in ourselves and in our ability to cope.

Medicine has been and it will always be an art, since ancient times a mixture of science and magic. We like spells, potions, herbs and placebos too. Sadly this art is no longer taught.

Diagnosis and treatment of a disease it is only one part of it, but the complicity of a patient-doctor relationship is the missing piece that completes the puzzle and allows for success of treatment and well being of the patient.

No comments: