Sul Times un ottimo pezzo sui paradossi dell’effetto placebo, in particolare per quanto riguarda l’efficacia delle cosiddette «medicine alternative» (Toby Murcott, «Nothing can cure you», 22 luglio 2006; l’articolo è in un rapporto non ben specificato con un libro dello stesso autore, The Whole Story: Alternative Medicine On Trial?):
By testing complementary therapies using the best means we have – double-blind randomised controlled trials – we diminish them. In fact, treatments that aren’t pharmaceuticals tend either not to get this high quality trialling, or to come out of it rather badly – in which case they inevitably receive a public battering.Da leggere anche il resto.
But unless we test them thoroughly, and find them to be effective, there can be no justification for introducing them into the NHS. If we allowed state-sponsored administration of treatments that have little more backing them than the power of placebo, it would be open season, with every elixir-pusher provided with a new legitimacy. The power of placebo lands complementary therapy in a Catch-22 situation.
Complementary medicines help many people, and we need to recognise that the power of the placebo is their strength, rather than their weakness. But until we agree a better way of testing treatments, it is best that the complementary remains exactly that – available separately and privately, and not even trying to compete with the medical big boys.