July 16th, 2011

Podcast 126: Placebos and Medical ‘Meaning’

Last week’s New England Journal of Medicine paper on the placebo effect in evaluating asthma treatments was fascinating in itself. The editorial that accompanied it, however, was a delight. It asks clinicians to think less about laboratory measures of cure, and more about the patient’s satisfaction with treatment — whether the treatment was “real” or not.

This week’s guest, Dr. Daniel Moerman, wrote that editorial. His training in anthropology adds a refreshing viewpoint to his observations on clinical medicine. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Relevant links:

  1. Cherkin et al.
  2. Haake et al.

4 Responses to “Podcast 126: Placebos and Medical ‘Meaning’”

  1. So much for the primacy of “outcomes”, & the attempts for dictated “meaningful use” to determine so-called “quality” of medical care. As much as I respect outcomes research done well (did the penicillin cure the strep? or not?) I have realized, after 50 yrs in medicine, (40 of it as a FamDoc in the same office, but some of it doing research) that everyone dies, that no one should (but all will) miss treatable pathology, that only those who don’t venture don’t make mistakes, that PROCESS is more important than OUTCOME on the balance, when studying who is practicing “good medicine.” It’s a stretch, though, to think that patient satisfaction is what counts most — for that we should all do massage therapy. 😉

  2. […] [1] Podcast 126: Placebos and Medical ‘Meaning’ Joe Elia July 16th, 2011 JournalWatch Page with links to podcast player and download […]

  3. […] anthropologists try to dabble in medicine. Recently, I became aware that Moerman appeared on the Clinical Conversations podcast around the time his editorial was published, and, even though the podcast is less than 18 […]


  4. […] on the placebo effect here and here … a conversation with Professor Daniel Moerman here … a link to his paper on why we evolved a placebo response … and a great article on […]

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