Placebo Effects: Biological, Clinical and Ethical Advances

For many years, placebos have been conceptualized by their inert content and their use as controls in clinical trials and treatments in clinical practice. Recent research demonstrates that placebo effects are genuine psychobiological phenomenon attributable to the overall therapeutic context, and that placebo effects can be robust in both laboratory and clinical settings. Evidence has also emerged that placebo effects can exist in clinical practice, even if no placebo is given. Further promotion and integration of laboratory and clinical research will allow advances in the ethical harnessing of placebo mechanisms that are inherent in routine clinical care and the potential use of treatments to primarily promote placebo effects.

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