Monthly Archives: April 2013

Discussion: The Placebo Effect

Hello there netizens, I decided that from this moment onwards that I should loosen up a bit of the formality when writing about something to debate. Yeah, I know, following the scientific writing guidelines is a necessity when discussing about certain topics, but hey, if it exist for our own good that means we can ignore it once in a while right? So I won’t give reference or any credits to other people who I got my information from. So all of you plagiarism police can shot me down any moment, but I just need you to know that I wrote this without copy pasting some people works. Yeah, I wrote this out of my own opinion so all you skeptics out there can do whatever you want in the comments section. Just don’t send me spam for god sake, they’re more annoying than grammer nazi’s out there (but you’re welcome to post so that I could improve my writings in the future though). And no, I won’t insert any stock images in this post to protect your brain from overloading or cure the boredom which is caused by you reading my post….last but not least, I won’t give you a potato for the long post, go get it yourself! It’s only a few cents, unless you’re living in you know…where a single potato cost a fortune…

Okay, where to start….just a few hours ago I was watching Game Theory (re-watching for the umpteenth time actually) and I came to the part where Matthew Patrick the maker (director, editor, priest) of the video was talking about how the placebo effect affecting our body. Oh come on, you probably have read about it a few times across the internet, where some random guy stopped a car heading his way with just his bare fist, or the guy who survived an accident unscathed. No, I don’t believe in miracles and magic despite being religious. For me, each and everything in this world had it’s own explanation, regardless of how unacceptably insane it is. I have my own share of how the placebo effect happens to me. When I was a kid I was prone to deadly situations all the time due to my own foolishness (hey, kids just being kids) at one time I was at my school when I was in primary four (4th graders to those living outside countries using british systems) for a function, arriving early with two of my friends, we were watching the cloudy skies at 7:00 in the morning, and out of the sudden, a lightning strikes just above our heads, in mere seconds my friends already jumped for cover, leaving me behind for a head shot literally (although lightning strikes are actually an optical illusion, read on it, I’m too lazy too explain it to you). Just as the lightning merely touching my hair, I jumped a few steps behind. Talk about lucky, or did our body have a special mechanism to protect us from any harm?

Fast-forward two years ahead, when I saw my friend from afar, I decided to run to him, forgetting that I was on top of a steep hill with wet grasses, I fell a few meters lunging toward a sewage hole, uncovered, with no water, made out of concrete with a few metal shaft pointing upwards….I thought I was a goner. And suddenly, I seem to fell perfectly on top of my friend as he catches me, his feet fell into the drainage, but somehow he only suffers a tiny bruise, and I escaped death, unharmed. The moments between the events are only a mere seconds but somehow we managed to calculate our ways to solve the problem…as I fell, my body somehow figured out how to land on top of my friend, even though I didn’t know if he would save me anyway, and my friend, lunging towards me and calculating at which angle should he breaks my fall while minimizing the damage that he may suffer from falling into the drain. Till this day the event still baffles me when I couldn’t sleep at night.

So you ask me, what the hell does all of this have to do with placebo effect? Well, I was just explaining before how our body in a short moment of time, making quick decisions to minimalize or escape the dangers beforehand. How about those crazy people who pull out stunts such as eating a sword, stab themselves using sword, juggling swords, cutting a sword in two….okay enough of that. But they conduct these amazing feats with no harm to their body. I know, they practiced thousands of hours just to improve their skills, but they certainly didn’t take any drugs or anything to enhance their performances right? We usually see how this people perform meditations, eating some weird cure-all or something, practicing tedious rituals to help them with their performances….looking at it again, it all started with how our brain actually works, and this is just the warm ups for our discussion.

In several studies (no reference would be included, check them yourself, or else this post would be as thick as Reece  Biology 9th edition textbook) subjects are given a pill which the doctor told that it would alleviate their pain. And there’s another patient given another pill and was told that it could increase their pain. The thing is, both of the pills only contains sugar, yeah, they’re a placebo. But do you know what happened? Both patients experienced an alleviated pain and also an increase in pain. Moreover, when the subjects were told about the truth about those pills, the same effects still applies to them anyway. Meaning that, even when we know that the acai berry or whatever crap the people from any multi-level marketing tries to sell to you, the fake benefits still works on you. But I guess that would mean that it’s cheaper to invest in something less pricey. I mean, how about making your brain thinks that eating M&M’s could cure your diarrhea? Heck, I drink gatorade when I have migraine and it still works like a charm even though I’m skeptical about it.

Then again, there was always an opposite to something. Ever take a real working analgesic such as Ibuprofen and how it didn’t even work to stop the pain you get from straining all the muscles in your body? (It works for me actually, and I almost become an addict before someone introduced me to pepsi….and I still believe that there’s pepsin inside it, so I take it everyday for digestive aid…heck, it got less sugar then your favorite coca-cola and taste better anyway) This is what scientist called anti-placebo effect. Yeah, even when the medicine you’re taking is scientifically proven, it still won’t work on you due to your brain being a douchebag, suddenly become skeptic about a working medicine. I guess that’s why some people with weight problem still can’t bring fit into their old pants even after a rigorous, exercise to your death routine daily. Damn, how does our brain works anyway in the first place?

Oh yeah, I claim my rights to the term “auto-placebo induced effect”. Yeah…I’m pathetic and miserable….and lazy too….

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