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Mike Hall - The Placebo Myth

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Mike Hall - The Placebo Myth


The placebo effect is one of the most powerful medical responses there is. A demonstration of the amazing power the mind has over the body, the placebo effect can help you lose weight, cure your knee pain, or relieve your asthma. It brings you up when you think it'll bring you up, and sedates you when you think it'll take you down. It'll even cure your gastric ulcers.

This isn’t wishy-washy alternative New Age nonsense. The placebo effect really does improve symptoms through our beliefs and expectations. It works in animals, it works in children, and it even works when think it won’t. There seems to be no end to it’s amazing healing power.

So why, then, does the best evidence tell us that none of this is true? Why does the data show that placebos are no better than doing nothing at all? And how can this myth be so deeply ingrained and unquestioned in modern medicine?

Mike Hall is producer and co-host of the long running skeptical podcast Skeptics with a K, a director of The Skeptic, and co-organiser of the popular science and skepticism conference QED. He has a lifelong interest in science, and has been involved in organised skepticism for over twelve years. He has spent most of his career working in technology (but still thinks Bitcoin is a scam) and has a particular special interest in Doctor Who.

**COVID Security** Although the rules have changed somewhat - we're still being cautious about the threat of COVID-19. Here are some things you could do to help look after yourself and our other attendees: • If you have access to a lateral flow test, why not take a test before you join us? If it's positive for COVID-19, please stay at home. • If you have new symptoms of COVID-19, even if a lateral flow test is negative - we'd prefer you stay at home. We'll have other social events in the future that you can join in when you're feeling better. • If you feel comfortable and able to wear a mask while moving around the venue then please do wear one. We'll bring some spares if you'd like to wear one but forgot to bring one. • We'll also bring some hand sanitiser that you're free to use any time. • Please be respectful of other people's boundaries. Give each other plenty of space and be considerate. If you need to cough or sneeze, cough into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue away before sanitising your hands.

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