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Reclaiming the placebo

Alternative medicine is bunk, but makes good use of the placebo effect. Orthodox practitioners should be allowed to do the same

I am one of a breed of doctors who is as happy to recommend the “herbal remedy” St John’s Wort for depression (as good as the SSRI class of antidepressant for moderate to severe depression, and biochemically similar to  “normal” antidepressants) as I am to prescribe aspirin after a heart attack (not only is it proven to prevent further heart damage, it is also an extract of willow-bark). It is evidence that leads me to this conclusion; if the evidence finds favour for a treatment as doing more good than harm, I should offer it to my patient.

Contrary to…

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