A growing body of research suggests that placebos–inactive substances used as sham medications–can alone improve the health of at least some patients (SN: 2/3/01, p. 74: Medicinal Mimicry). Controversy over that claim intensified after researchers analyzed many past studies and reported in the May 24 New England Journal of Medicine that the so-called placebo effect simply reflects the waxing and waning of disease.
Now, a study provides new evidence for the placebo effect and suggests a mechanism through which placebos might benefit patients with Parkinson's disease.
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