13 things that do not make sense – Features

Everyone else has blogged about this by now, but what the heck:

New Scientist 13 things that do not make sense – Features

My favourite:

1 The placebo effect

DON’T try this at home. Several times a day, for several days, you induce pain in someone. You control the pain with morphine until the final day of the experiment, when you replace the morphine with saline solution. Guess what? The saline takes the pain away.

This is the placebo effect: somehow, sometimes, a whole lot of nothing can be very powerful. Except it’s not quite nothing. When Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy carried out the above experiment, he added a final twist by adding naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of morphine, to the saline. The shocking result? The pain-relieving power of saline solution disappeared.

Who woulda thunk it? An interesting twist on the usual “mind over matter” explanation…

posted at 1:03 am on Monday, March 21, 2005 in Current Events, Links | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Jeff K says:

    That’s a very nice article. There are movies out that explain some of those things. Unfortunately the most recent movie I saw was filled with errors and so was an introductory book on philosophy. It seems there are a lot of people who want to get outside of scientific reasoning because it’s “just philosophy”. A problem is the tendancy to solipsism, or something like it these folks have. For example, in this case, it appears the simple release of (a limited amount of) neurotransmitters (or maybe endorphins?) by action of imagination is taken by some to be evidence that their minds “create their own reality”. Alas, no new philosophy or metaphysics is required, just Occam’s Razor & chemistry. Pretty dull, huh? I can also prove solipsism is false in 2 sentences if you would like… hm, I think I just did.

    Normally I’d provide a citation to the books & movies, but I’m too embarrassed to admit I read/saw them and they’re too innaccurate to act as true introductions to this.

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