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'