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Can Placebos Work—Even When Patients Know They’re Fake? – WIRED

Researchers showed that a saline spray “treatment” reduced people’s emotional distress, even though the study subjects knew the spray wouldn’t do anything.



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For that reason, Tor Wager, a professor of neuroscience at Dartmouth College and a co-author of the study, says it will be important to track changes in the long run. We need to know something about which placebo effects last a long time, which ones fundamentally change something in your brain, he says. He suspects that different ingredientslike reinforcing belief in the effectiveness of the placebo at a particular timecould make placebos more or less durable. Ultimately, he says, the way to dis…

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