Medical Research

Medical Research

Medical Research
Medical research is conducted by scientists who are experts in a range of fields, and who conduct lab experiments and clinical trials to advance understanding of diseases and treatments. Your healthcare provider is a good source for information about clinical trials that may be appropriate for you.

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    A , Health Education, answered
    Phase IV trials further evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of a treatment, usually take place after a treatment has been approved for standard use, and involve hundreds or thousands of people
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    A , Health Education, answered

    Phase III trials provide hard, statistical evidence about whether a drug prolongs survival or improves quality of life. These trials involve large groups of patients. The new drug or combination is compared to the best current treatment for a particular kind of cancer. Testing may involve hundreds or thousands of people over as many as five years. These studies use a “randomized control group,” which means some volunteers get the standard treatment (the control group) and others get the drug being tested. This removes bias in reporting results because patients don’t know in advance which group they are in. Many randomized studies consist of the standard treatment plus an additional treatment or drug. Sometimes this combination (standard treatment plus experimental treatment) is better for patients and other times it is not. This comparison is the whole point of doing a clinical trial.

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    A , Health Education, answered

    Phase II trials study the effectiveness of a drug or treatment. They usually focus on a particular type of cancer with a small number of participants. There are strict eligibility requirements. The goal of Phase II trials is to establish that a new treatment substantially benefits at least 20 percent of patients who receive the drug. The trial also confirms that the dose chosen in Phase I trials is indeed safe.

     

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    A placebo is a pill or treatment chosen to have no impact on the research subject (also called a “sugar pill”). The placebo effect is an outcome where the subject receiving a "sugar pill" or placebo experiences an improvement in condition or symptoms, despite the fact that the treatment is known to be impotent.
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    A , Gastroenterology, answered
    In the early stages of studying the placebo response, studies showed that about one-third of patients benefited from placebos. That is, when you gave one group of patients the active drug and another group of patients the placebo, approximately 33% of those patients who received the placebo got better.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    The term "placebo" comes from the Latin for "I will please." Its opposite is a nocebo, from the Latin for "I will harm." The nocebo effect is a side effect from an apparently inert substance or a sham treatment. Healthy individuals have adverse effects from a placebo about 25 percent of the time, and if patients are specifically asked about adverse effects, the proportion can rise to 70 percent. Nocebo response" usually describes an adverse reaction to a placebo, but the term could also be applied to an unusual or exaggerated adverse response to a medication. Does that mean that a nocebo effect is not real? Not at all; it is just as real as the real thing.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Just as the placebo response is influenced by a patient's attitude, so too is the nocebo response. It is another example of the power of expectations. The classic example comes from the Framingham Heart Study, in which, among women with similar risk factors, those who believed they were prone to heart disease were four times more likely to die from a heart attack. Expectations are influenced by many factors (including price), all of which play a role in establishing the patient's level of faith.

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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    • Hawthorne effect: Subjects respond to knowledge of being evaluated and observed.
    • Jastrow effect: Subjects respond to explicit expectation about outcome.
    • Pygmalion effect: Evaluators expect therapeutic benefit, so they see it.
    • John Henry effect: Control subjects attempt to emulate expected outcomes.
    • Halo effect: Subjects respond to novelty of treatment (i.e., new technology).
    • Experiment effect: Evaluators consciously (or not) interpret outcomes differently.
    • Socialization effect: Others reporting benefit influence outcomes.
    • Value effect: Price of treatment influences expected outcomes.
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    Following symptoms and side effects are produced by placebos.

    • Anger
    • Anorexia
    • Behavioral changes
    • Depression
    • Dermatitis
    • Diarrhea
    • Drowsiness
    • Hallucinations
    • Headache
    • Lightheadedness
    • Pain
    • Palpitation
    • Pupillary dilation
    • Rash
    • Weakness
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    A , Naturopathic Medicine, answered

    The noted Harvard psychologist Herbert Benson has described three basic components of heightening a placebo response: one, the belief and expectation of the patient; two, the belief and expectation of the physician; three, the interaction between the physician and the patient. When these three are in concert, the placebo effect is greatly magnified. Benson believes that the placebo effect yields beneficial clinical results in 60 to 90 percent of diseases. He states that the placebo "has been one of medicine's most potent assets and it should not be belittled or ridiculed. Unlike most other treatments, it is safe and inexpensive and has withstood the test of time." I agree with him completely.

    As powerful as the placebo response is, it still requires activation. If the therapeutic interaction between the physician and the patient does not stimulate the patient's hope, faith, and belief, the chances of success are measurably diminished no matter how strong or effective the medication may be. It has been repeatedly demonstrated in clinical trials designed to better understand the placebo effect that the beliefs of both the patient and the doctor, and their trust in each other and the process, generate a significant portion of the therapeutic results.

    Conventional medicine often criticizes and belittles therapies that have not been stringently tested using the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, but it is arguing against something that has been time-tested - the art of healing. A compassionate, warm, caring physician will produce better outcomes and encounter fewer side effects with medications than a cold, uncaring, uninterested, emotionless physician.