[LINK] electromagnetic fields effect brain activity

Stewart Fist stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Thu Jan 11 13:04:00 AEDT 2007

Karl says:

> None of this requires a "soul" to explain. As soon as you admit the
> existence of a "mental state" you are allowing a distinction between
> body and mind

Yes, but the distinction proves nothing.  I am quite happy to distinguish
between body and mind, and I will even accept the term "soul" in the same
way as I accept "Leprechauns" without having to also accept that they are
real.  With body and mind, one is a consequence of the other -- unless you
believe in magic or souls.

The problem with all this placebo/nocebo discussion is that the promoters of
these ideas, very often don't define their terms

For instance, if placebo just means that the patient feels better having
been given a pill, then why not say so.  Why give it a fancy medical term?

Similarly, if nocebo just refers to the psychological effects, then call it
hypochondria or irrational-fear, or whatever.

The use of the term in a medical context implies a real physical change.
Yet if you read most of this stuff, there's no evidence of any physical

There is a claim about some Boston women who were interviewed to ascertain
how long they thought they had to live.  Those who predicted a short
life-span died at a much higher rate than those who thought they had many
years to live.  This is often promoted as evidence of the nocebo effect.

Of course, it could also just be a rational realistic assessment of their
current health.

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

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