Is it unethical for a doctor to prescribe a placebo to you?
It may happen more often than we think, according to a study out today.
A University of Chicago research team sent surveys about placebo use to 466 internists at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois — Chicago. Half of the recipients responded, and 45 percent of the respondents reported giving a patient a placebo at least once during their years of practice.
Only 4 percent of the doctors told their patients that the pills — usually sugar pills — were worthless.
“I think this shows that it strikes a chord among physicians. We may underestimate the body’s natural healing potential,” said Rachel Sherman, a medical student at the University of Chicago, whose study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The use of a placebo in medical studies is fairly common. But this study focuses on regular clinical use.
There’s one other health-related story today: The Centers for Disease Control reports for the first time, confirmation of the suspicion that you can get norovirus — stomach flu — from a computer keyboard or mouse.