placebo-drThe Placebo Effect is not all bad

We’ve been talking about the role of the statistician and how all of their data ends up affecting us, but what about the role of the people involved in those questionnaires and studies?  It goes beyond just what they are physically doing (or taking) that impacts the end results. What is going on inside their heads can have the biggest effect of all.  It’s called the placebo effect.

We all know about the placebo effect, but we’ve made it into a negative; e.g., when a person takes a placebo and gets desired results, their positive experience are filed under the “false positives” or “crazy” column – because they were given the placebo.

BUT did you know the placebo effect has been tested on animals? Animals have responded just like humans to a placebo and we KNOW they don’t have an agenda. According to a University of Florida study, rats and humans have at least one thing in common: They both react the same way to a placebo. Co-author John Neubert, a pain specialist and an associate professor with the UF College of Dentistry Department of Orthodontics said, “That was the big finding — that the animals that expected pain relief actually got pain relief when you gave them an inert substance. It helps validate our model that what we do in the rats, we believe, is a good representation of what’s being seen in humans.” (

The Nocebo Effect is interesting, too!

Ever heard of it? It’s when you take a sugar pill and have been told that it has side effects; and, sure enough, you develop those ghastly side effects. A proven result of how our mind is a major contributor in our health outcomes. (

Check your attitude and mindset

It sounds like we might have a whole lot more control over our own bodies than we know. The other way to look at it is to truly appreciate the power of our body to heal itself (and also to harm itself).

One study shows volunteers being subjected to pain-provoking heat while being administered a strong opioid for pain via IV. The opioid was administered at the same level throughout the entire trial, BUT the subjects were told three things: 1) that the drug would have no effect 2) that it would diminish the sensation of pain, or 3) that it would make the pain worse. The results? Most responded to the verbal cues. The wild part is that the subjects were given MRI’s during the trial and their brains actually responded accordingly (i.e. individuals who expected the drug to mitigate their pain showed increases in the anterior cingulate cortex and the striatum, signs that descending mechanisms of pain inhibition were engaged.) (


Is your head spinning?

It all does kind of make your head spin. I would encourage you to click on some of the links in this article and digest some of the information. It could have a major impact on your health.

The reason we’ve been talking about statistics is because we want everyone to enjoy better health. What are some steps to take to get there?

Know your Statistics

Start with the basics and make sure you know what you numbers are. Your weight. Your blood pressure. Your BMI. Your cholesterol. Then focus on changing those numbers by improving your health in those areas. Lose weight. Exercise. Change your diet…and your attitude. Don’t let obstacles stand in your way. Make up your mind that you will invest time and energy in your health and those numbers will follow. The BIG pictures includes not only your family history and your lifestyle, but also your attitude and mindset.

Use Common Sense

When you read an article that says something is good or bad, use a little common sense on how you are going to apply that in your life. You have to admit your head wanted to explode when you read all those years about how bad eggs are for you and now they say eggs are the PERFECT food.

And be sure to read between the lines – know who is behind the statement, the statistic, the study.

Use common sense when searching for different products and treatments for a specific challenge. I have personally had total lapse of common sense when making medical decisions. This applies both with traditional medical and alternative health treatments. One time in Hawaii, I can’t even remember now what my problem was, but I had heard great things about this woman who was “plugged into” alternative health treatments. She actually convinced me to have her special alternative treatment which involved placing snake venom UNDER MY TONGUE. Well, needless to say, the response was pretty much immediate and dramatic. I got really, really sick. I didn’t go to the hospital because I figured they might put me in the loony bin. I was sure they would say, “You let her do what?” So, it’s a good idea to talk to those around you (whose judgement you trust) and if they say, “That’s crazy”, you probably need to heed their advice.

Let us help you figure out the figures

Sometimes the best help is just having someone to talk to about the problem.  Call or e-mail us. We can be your next trusted friend to listen and help…and give advice if you need it!