[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity

Stewart Fist stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Wed Jan 10 10:52:00 AEDT 2007

Karl writes re placebo:

> if they believe it will help them then it very likely WILL help them, even if
> only by improving their perceived well-being.

I dont' disagree at all.  But I think one of the most common misconceptions
about the use of a placebo (and the patient is not supposed to know that it
is only a placebo)  is that the patient's feeling of well-being actually
contributes to the healing process.

This is dubious in my opinion; it might effect/affect (Ivan??) the mood, but
I doubt it affects/effects the body.

The body heals by itself, with or without placebos -- and with or without
feelings of well-being. It even heals in a coma.

 There's no evidence that the bones of a depressive take longer to mend than
the bones of an eternal optimist.  If there were, hospitals would load their
patients up with a good high dose of morphine or opium to enlist euphoria
and hasten the healing process.

An extension of this "feeling of well-being" idea is the firmly-held-belief
in the general community that the bravery of certain people helps them cure
themselves of supposedly incurable diseases.  TV Current-affairs shows love
to use the term 'hero' about kids who survive cancer and they almost always
attribute the survival to the mental state of the kid.

This is never discussed truthfully in the media, because its not a
characterisation that anyone can vocally object to without looking like a
complete bastard.

However consider its corollary, which presumably is that those who die, do
so because of cowardice or lack-of-willpower in facing and fighting their
disease.   I often wonder how the families of those who die think about this
implied characterisation of their loved ones.

Karl's condemnation of people who "exploit the credulous" however, seems to
under-rate this as a problem.  It is a multi-billion dollar problem in
Australia, and a multi-trillion dollar problem around the world.

Stewart Fist, writer, journalist, film-maker
70 Middle Harbour Road, LINDFIELD, 2070, NSW, Australia
Ph +61 (2) 9416 7458

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