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Even Knowingly Taking A Placebo Seems To Help

It's no surprise that placebos -- fake pills that contain no active ingredient -- often work to relieve symptoms. Doctors think placebos work because patients think they might be getting an active drug but there's an element of deception. But now Harvard researchers show that even when volunteers with severe bowel disease know they're getting a placebo, 59 percent had relief from symptoms. Call it an "honest placebo."

Copyright 2010 NPR

Richard Knox
Since he joined NPR in 2000, Knox has covered a broad range of issues and events in public health, medicine, and science. His reports can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Talk of the Nation, and newscasts.