Bizarre Discovery Suggests Pink Drinks Make People Run Faster, But Why?

Posted 14 May 2021

Weight-loss may occur even with scam products, or products that are unlikely to work because of the ingredients or dose of the ingredients. This is attributed to the placebo effect. In this small study, runners were found to run faster just because of the colour of the drink!

By Peter Dockrill 13 MAY 2021

Science Alert

If you’re going to gargle something next time you go for a run, here’s some free advice: Try using a pink-colored drink. As strange as it sounds, pink drinks appear to be linked with enhanced running performance.

In a new study, scientists found that runners who rinsed their mouths with a pink-colored liquid solution – as opposed to a clear, identical-tasting one – ran for longer and at a faster average speed, while having a more enjoyable running experience too.

“Adding a pink colorant to an artificially sweetened solution not … Read the rest

‘Expensive’ placebos work better than ‘cheap’ ones, study finds

Posted 28 January 2018

How do you convert a simple saline solution into a useful treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease? Tell them it’s a drug that costs $100 per dose. And if you want to make it even more effective, tell them it costs $1,500 instead.

That’s what researchers from the University of Cincinnati discovered in an unusual clinical trial. Instead of testing a placebo against an actual drug, they pitted two placebos against each other. The only difference between the two sham treatments was their purported price.

Both of the placebos improved motor function compared with a base line test. But when patients got the $1,500-per-dose placebo, their improvement was 9% greater than when they got the $100-per-dose placebo, the researchers reported.

Continue reading at the LA Times

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Are diets just placebos?

Posted 14 July 2017

A question that is often asked: why do some people (few) lose weight even if the weight-loss product is a scam?

For example, if we claim that Herbex products have no evidence to back up their claim to be effective in weight-loss, and indeed, as we argue, there is no proof the ingredients contribute to weight-loss and particularly at the dose being used.

We have attributed this to the placebo effect, i.e., someone taking a pill psychologically changes the way he/she eats. There are many studies demonstrating how people have lost weight, even large amounts, even though they were getting an inert substance.

In an article in Slate, the science writer Erik Vance, asks the question: Are diets just placebos?

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The weird power of the placebo effect, explained

Posted 11 July 2017

Yes, the placebo effect is all in your mind. And it’s real.

Over the last several years, doctors noticed a mystifying trend: Fewer and fewer new pain drugs were getting through double-blind placebo control trials, the gold standard for testing a drug’s effectiveness. 

In these trials, neither doctors nor patients know who is on the active drug and who is taking an inert pill. At the end of the trial, the two groups are compared. If those who actually took the drug report significantly greater improvement than those on placebo, then it’s worth prescribing.

When researchers started looking closely at pain-drug clinical trials, they found that an average of 27 percent of patients in 1996 reported pain reduction from a new drug compared to placebo. In 2013, it was 9 percent.

What this showed was not that the drugs

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The “It Worked for Me” Gimmick

Posted 22 April 2016

[quote]It is almost inevitable that whenever we post an article critical of the claims being made for a particular treatment, alternative philosophy, or alternative profession, someone in the comments will counter a careful examination of published scientific evidence with an anecdote. Their arguments boils down to, “It worked for me, so all of your scientific evidence and plausibility is irrelevant.” Both components of this argument are invalid. Even if we grant that a treatment worked for one individual, that does not counter the (carefully observed) experience of all the subjects in the clinical trials. They count too – I would argue they count more because we can verify all the important aspects of their story.[/quote]

This article by by Steven Novella published on April 20, 2016 on Science-Based Medicine, examines the value of the claim, ‘but it worked for me’.

He concludes:

[quote]It is hard… Read the rest

Herbal placebo?

Posted 20 November 2015

A tongue-in-cheek cartoon about herbal products and placebos!


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Placebo effects

Posted 07 September 2011

I have pointed out in a number of posts how strong a placebo response can be, and asked whether some CAMS are only effective because of a strong placebo response and actually have no efficacy on their own.

Here is an interesting study that illustrates this very point.

Placebos without Deception: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

"Conclusion: Placebos administered without deception may be an effective treatment for IBS. Further research is warranted in IBS, and perhaps other conditions, to elucidate whether physicians can benefit patients using placebos consistent with informed consent."

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A closer look at the placebo effect

Posted 20 July 2011

From Medical Xpress

Published:   July 13th, 2011 in Medications

Placebos are "dummy pills" often used in research trials to test new  drug therapies and the "placebo effect" is the benefit patients  receive from a treatment that has no active ingredients. Many claim  that the placebo effect is a critical component of clinical practice. 

But whether or not placebos can actually influence objective measures  of disease has been unclear. Now a study of asthma patients examining  the impact of two different placebo treatments versus standard medical  treatment with an albuterol bronchodilator has reached two important conclusions: while placebos had no effect on lung function (one of the  key objective measures that physicians depend on in treating asthma patients) when it came to patient-reported outcomes, placebos were  equally as effective as albuterol in helping to relieve patients' discomfort … Read the rest

Cash incentives for weight loss studied

There are many factors that may impact on the placebo response, resulting in obtaining wrong information and therefore making incorrect conclusions. 

This article from NetDoctor is very pertinent and explains how even paying study subjects may influence results.

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Placebo effect works even if patients know they’re getting a sham drug

Patients can benefit from being treated with sham drugs even if they are told they contain no active ingredient, scientists have found. The finding suggests that the placebo effect could work without the need for any deception on the part of the doctor, as had been previously thought.

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