6 Find a program by guest, # or category
6 Category IndexFind a program by guest, # or category
6 Series IndexFind a program by guest, # or category
Kindred Spirits
Public Radio Shows
Special Packages
Walking through the Storm
6 Information
About Humanmedia.org
About the Producer
Shipping and Returns
How You Can Help
MP3 Troubleshooting
Listen to our Podcast
Podcast: More information
Conditions of Use
What's New at HumanMedia.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Contact Us
The Placebo Effect[Program 239]
The Placebo Effect

"On average, particular drugs, even proven ones, for example, only add about 20-30 percent of the effect of the response. The rest, the 70-80 percent comes from our own inherent healing capacity. Pain responds robustly to the meaning effect. But a lot of other physiological processes also seem to be responding to it. And medical science is just beginning to explore how broad this effect is. For example, there's good research showing that even Parkinson's disease responds to this, and inflammatory processes, and immune responses can also respond to this."

-- Wayne Jonas, MD

When new medications are being tested, researchers have long been aware of the "placebo effect" -- that someone's mental attitude and preconceptions can impact how that person reacts to the drug. Routinely, scientists attempt to distinguish the placebo effect from the effect of the drug's active ingredients, to determine how well the medicine itself works. But what is the mystery of the placebo effect? Why do our thoughts and ideas affect our healing from physical ailments? In this episode, we examine some of the history -- and promising applications -- of this effect, which Dr. Jonas sometimes calls the "meaning effect", because a healing response can be activated by how we perceive the meaning of a medical treatment (drug or otherwise). Jonas is former Director of the Medical Research Fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He also served as director of the Office of Alternative Medicine (since renamed the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Today he is president of the Samueli Institute, a health research center in Alexandria, Virginia.

Play MP3Hear free excerpt

Order online now
Audio MP3 ($4.95)
Audio CD ($14.95)
Order now   MP3 SALE: usually $6.95

Humankind: Other programs

6 We also recommend:
Journey for Recovery (CD 1)Journey for Recovery (CD 1)
Part A: Cancer patients confront their fears -- real and imagined; and a scientific look at the mind/body connection. Part B: How relaxation exercises and healing imagery can diminish cancer pain; and the health benefits of keeping a personal diary.
Living Fully With IllnessLiving Fully With Illness
The power of a patient's self-reflection as a tool for coping with illness is explored by a nurse scientist who has studied meditation as a health technique, and by a cancer survivor who teaches other patients about the value of therapeutic writing in expressing their inward feelings.
Managing PainManaging Pain
Near Portland, Maine, people afflicted with chronic pain from medical conditions support each other in a group where attenders who are discouraged learn to take an active role in their life, and to see themselves not as a patient but as a complete person.

Share on Facebook and help spread the word about Humankind Public Radio!