Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that placebo controls are almost never described according to standard reporting guidelines.

Falling tablets and capsules on dark blue background

Their findings are published today in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Placebo controls are the ‘gold’ standard against which new treatments are often measured. If a new treatment consistently proves to be better than a placebo treatment, then it is taken to be effective. Otherwise, it isn’t.

Co-lead author and Director of the Oxford Empathy Programme, Jeremy Howick, said: ‘There is a fundamental problem with this “gold” standard. Different placebos have very different effects, which then lead to (sometimes, mistaken) inferences about a new treatment’s effects or harms.’

Read more (University of Oxford website)

Jeremey Howick has also written an article for The Conversation 'Placebos: what they’re made of matters'

Similar stories

Oxford University wins prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the award of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes to twenty-one higher and further education institutions, including Oxford University, in the most recent round of the independently reviewed scheme. This prestigious award is the highest national honour available to universities and FE colleges across the UK.

Jenner Institute named Covid Innovation Heroes

The team at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute has been celebrated for their global pandemic work by The Oxford Trust’s Covid Innovation Heroes Award­ 2021.

New Research Highlights Importance of Early Years Development on Future Wellbeing

Oxford researchers involved nearly 4,000 children across the UK in three specially developed science lessons to educate pupils about brain development during early childhood. The SEEN (Secondary Education around Early Neurodevelopment) project was commissioned and funded by KindredSquared and is part of a wider drive to increase public understanding of how early experiences can shape the adults we become.

Study reveals ‘stop-eating’ response to DNA damage

A new study from the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine sheds light on the mechanism by which DNA damage suppresses appetite, a finding with implications for understanding the appetite lowering side-effects of chemotherapy.

Fiona Powrie appointed new Deputy Chair of Wellcome’s Board of Governors

Fiona Powrie, Director of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford has been selected as the next Deputy Chair of Wellcome’s Board of Governors.