[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity

Kim Holburn kim.holburn at gmail.com
Wed Jan 10 20:54:31 AEDT 2007

On 2007/Jan/10, at 12:52 AM, Stewart Fist wrote:
> 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.

The placebo effect is such a powerful one and makes it so difficult  
to even test drugs, it's surprising there's not more research into  
it.  (Well perhaps not so surprising: you probably can't make money  
out of it as easily as patenting drugs.)  They are starting to do  
research into it but not much yet.

> 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.

Actually, it's called a medically induced coma and they do do it.   
Most healing is effected by the immune system and takes place during  
sleep so there are good reasons for doing it.

There is evidence that the immune system is affected by the brain  
(and consequently the mood).  The immune system and many organs have  

Remember there is also the nocebo effect so to get placebo or nocebo  
there must be some brain involvement.

> 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.

The problem is we know so little about it.  In normal double blind  
studies they have to account for the mood of the prescribing doctor  
as well as the patient because that too seems to affect the outcome  
due to the placebo effect. If there was no "mood" affect then drug  
studies would be much simpler.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
Ph: +39 06 855 4294  M: +39 3342707610
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny.
                           -- Lloyd Biggle, Jr. Analog, Apr 1961

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