This article supported by curiosity stream, I did a article a while back on cryonics the whole idea of freezing yourself so that you could be revived at some point in the future, possibly at a time when science has cured the thing that killed.
You just make sure you don’t get killed by bears. I don & # 39. T know that we & # 39. Ll ever have a cure from bears, but one of the options, if you want eternity on a budget, is just to freeze your head with the idea being that, maybe at some point in the future you could be reconnected to a brand new body or just you Know upload it to some kind of virtual reality simulation whenever you bring that up to people.
You always hear somebody say something about how like that sounds terrible to just be a brain in a jar. You know it seems like a like a fate worse than death, but the thing is a brain in a jar is basically what you are right now, a brain and a skull shaped jar.
All of your senses are experienced by your brain. You know your hand may be hurting, but that pain, sensation, isn’t. Coming from your hand, it’s, just a collection of signals that’s taken to the brain, and then the brain interprets that, as pain same with vision, hearing smell all those things.
You know you don’t, you don’t, see with your eyes your eyes merely collect light, and then your brain interprets it and tells you what it is. You’re, looking at our entire conscious experience is just made up by our brain by interpreting sensory signals that are coming from the rest of our body, so it really shouldn’t.
Be any surprise that your brain is capable of changing that conscious experience, sometimes even emulating the effects of drugs. The possible effect is a phenomenon of the body actually healing itself by simply thinking that it’s receiving a treatment.
In other words, if you think something is gon na make you feel better, your body will actually feel better, but not just feel better, actually cause physiological changes in your body kind of like force healing or something some of the first recorded instances of the placebo effect Is thought to be actual faith healing that occurred back in the ancient days? Stonehenge was considered a Fayette Ealing spot according to one theory about Stonehenge.
Anyway, it’s thought that people would go there and they were told that the stones had. You know magical healing powers, and if you touched it, those powers would transfer into your body, and you would feel better well, according to the placebo effect, were told that that would happen.
It might have actually happened a little bit. Other shamanistic religions accomplish the same thing through you know, ritualistic settings, you know, maybe the shaman would wave his hand over an injury and an injury would get a little bit better.
You know, like I’m. Sorry, the force healing thing where the hell did that come from you never saw it in any other movies and it was just like all over the rise of sky longer. But 1500 possi bows were considered a standard part of medicine, but they were actually more of a comfort to the patient than anything.
You know, like a doctor, might suggest a medicine that is actually effective, but then they would also, you know, suggest something sweet or calming or comforting just to make them feel better. As embroidery one of the founding fathers of modern surgery once said a physician’s.
Duty was to cure, occasionally relieve often console always like ray consoled. That snake thing in the cave by force healing its injury cuz I don’t know. I guess I guess ray knows: snake Anatomy, now, a snake that was clearly there for plot purposes to give them an easy way out of the cave, the cave that they just happen to fall into.
They just happen to have that knife. There just happen to have a cut out of the place that they just happen to need to go. Should they happen to be standing in just that spot? What is this Goonies in space now, one of the first people to experiment with the placebo effect was John.
Hey Garth in 1799, he wanted to debunk a popular treatment at the time known as Perkins tractors that were these little metal rods that you would rub over a patient that was supposed to draw out. You know inflammation and pain by quote, drawing out the noxious electrical fluid.
That is the root of all suffering yeah. It was total quackery, hey, Garth, treated, two groups of people, one with real tractors and one with wooden ones, and the wooden ones worked just as well as the real ones.
In other words, the real ones did not do better than placebo, but it was the fact that they worked at all that got hey Garth interested, so he actually wrote about it in the book that I wrote called on imagination as the cause and as the cure Of disorders in the body, imagination is also the cause of a scene where people fall into a cave through quicksand, because that makes sense.
Wouldn’t the sand just fill the cave. Was this anti-gravity sand in World War? One field doctors on the battlefield often ran out of morphine for their wounded soldiers, and they found over time that, if they just injected them with saline solution and told them that it was more thing that they would actually react to it as if it was actual Morphine and this started a whole new wave of research into the placebo effect that kind of put an end to the whole age of quackery and snake oil that had kind of taken over the medical industry.
At the time by understanding the placebo effect, doctors were able to tell whether or not a drug was actually real. It wasn’t enough that it helped people it had to help people more than the placebo effect, and that continues with drug trials.
To this day, but of course the big one and let’s, just stop being nice here for a second okay, that’s. Seen we’re Finn and Rose are on the back of these horse like things riding across a stardestroyer in space no suits just out in space.
Everything’s. Fine! We’re just supposed to pretend we didn & # 39. T, see that I guess so. How exactly does the placebo effect work? How do our bodies do this? It’s serious times our bodies actually produce something called endogenous chemicals that sort of emulate the effects of drugs.
Now it’s not put there to emulate the effects of drugs. Obviously, the drugs actually emulate the effect of these endogenous chemicals. Our bodies already contain these pathways for the endogenous chemicals that our body produces to make us feel better or to heal us a little bit better and the drugs kind of take advantage of the pathways that already exist.
Some of these endogenous chemicals include endorphins that help with pain, dopamine serotonin that helps with mood and anxiety and also histamines, that kind of helped fight against allergens, and these have been shown in MRI scans to translate to the anterior cingulate cortex in the brain, which kind Of works in conjunction with the thalamus, which is kind of like a way station for signals in the brain.
Now it seems to be that when your conscious mind expects a treatment or a drug to make, you feel better. That message gets sent through the anterior cingulate cortex, and then it releases the appropriate neurotransmitters to sort of help with that now.
This means that the placebo effect can’t do major things. It can’t cure cancer. It can’t, grow back a limb or anything like that. It can’t really fight infections, but it can help with the symptoms of those conditions.
Things like hunger, nausea pain, dizziness mood and sometimes a bit of an immune boost, but it turns out there’s, a lot of factors that can make a big difference in what kind and severity of placebo effect that you make.
One example is that the more serious the delivery system or the treatment, the stronger the placebo effect tends to be. For example, tablets don’t work as well as capsules and capsules. Don’t work as well as needles needles, don’t work as well as surgery in surgery works less well than say, a big machine, so yeah in trials.
They found that, if you receive a shot over say a pill, it will actually create a stronger, a possible effect, and there have been cases where doctors have say: cut open a person’s knee because they’re having knee pain, just Kind of twiddle their thumbs for a minute, then sewed them back up, and then the person was magically relieved of knee pain.
Basically, the more patient is sold on the treatment, the better it works. So, the more time a doctor spends talking to the patient and explaining exactly how it works, the better, the placebo effect, if it’s in branded packaging or if it’s more expensive, that tends to work better and strangely colors seem To make a difference, because we already through branding and whatnot, associate certain colors with certain drugs to treat certain conditions, so a blue placebo pill might help you sleep better than a different color placebo pill.
Red works better for pain, yellow works better for antidepressants, apparently how the patient views the doctors. Confidence plays a part in it as well. There was one specific experiment where they had two groups of people, both getting the exact same placebo treatment.
But one group had a senior doctor and the second group had a student doctor. Now it was the exact same doctor both times, but they were told different things about the doctor and lo and behold, the senior doctor had a better placebo effect and clearly that’s, because if somebody has a senior doctor, they are conditioned to think That that senior doctor is gon na be more competent than a student doctor, so conditioning does play a part in it and that’s been proven true in experiments as well.
I talked in a article a while back about Pavlov and his experiments with his dogs, which were kind of horrific actually, but he’s kind of the father of modern conditioning. This is something that actually plays into the placebo effect.
One experiment was done by dr. Fabrizio Benedetti by the University of Turin in Italy. What he did was he took people up to high altitudes over the Italian Alps and had them get on steppe, climbers and so high altitude was a low oxygen environment and low oxygen environments caused muscle fatigue really quickly and lots of headaches.
So he put them on the step machine and then he put them on a breathing apparatus and on the breathing apparatus it was designed to make noise whether or not it was pumping oxygen, but he had a little switch that he could turn the oxygen on and Off so at first he tried giving them the fake oxygen to see if that would actually improve their condition through placebo and it actually didn’t.
But then he tried a different approach. He had them get on the stair climber and then gave them real oxygen, three or four times each time when he gave them the real oxygen. Their muscles would feel better.
Their headaches would go away and then he would have them do the stair climber. He need to repeat that over and over again and then on the last time he gave them the fake oxygen and this time it worked.
Not only did their headaches and muscle pain go away, but he actually did saliva tests and found that there’s, certain chemicals that your body produces when in states of oxygen deprivation, he found that they were missing these chemicals.
So there was an actual physiological response to this and in similar conditioning experiments they found that they were able to get the body to produce more insulin or lower the immune system response and that’s.
Amazing. Those are pretty fundamental things in the body. Physiologically that you wouldn’t think that the brain would be able to manipulate, but it gets weirder than that, because a placebo effect can work.
Even if you know you’re, taking a placebo there’s, a story from the science verses podcast of a woman named Linda wan na know who joined a study of randomized controlled trial for irritable, bowel syndrome.
She’s. Had this condition for 12 years, or so it had been this horrible thing in her life, she tried all kinds of things nothing had worked. This was a trial by a Harvard Medical School. So she thought why not? She gave it a shot unbeknownst to her secretly.
This trial was really studying the placebo effect, so when she signed up for this thing, she received these pills to take. She was actually told that they were placebo pills, but that the placebo effect is a thing, so they might still make her feel a little bit better and it did still make her feel better yeah.
She said that, after four days on the pill, all of her symptoms went away, and this was the first time in 12 years that she had been symptom free. I mean think about this. She took countless drugs to try to fix this problem and none of them worked, but the fake drug worked and she knew it was fake, the whole time and even crazier at the end of the trial when she had to return the pills to the study people.
Her symptoms came back what the hell, but the only thing that could possibly top that weirdness is the story of the guy who actually overdosed on placebo pills. It was a gentleman who, unfortunately, was dealing with depression, so he entered this trial for a depression, drug and after a fight with his girlfriend.
I guess he was in a really bad place, so he just went and took the entire bottle of the drugs and immediately went into a state of shock. An ambulance was called, he was rushed to the hospital. His blood pressure was dangerously low.
They had to put IV fluids into him just to keep him stable. Of course, the ER staff had no idea what this drug was that he took because it was part of this trial, so they were able to get in touch with the people who were running the study and found out that actually he was in the placebo group.
They were completely inert pills, so after telling this guy that he had actually just taken the pacy Bo pill, his heart rate went back to normal his blood pressure return to normal after about 15 minutes.
He was fine. Now one last thing on this topic. There is also something that’s, sort of the opposite of the pacy Bo effect. It’s called the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect is the expectation that something negative is gon na happen by taking a drug or receiving a treatment, and then that negative thing happens.
A study from the University of Munich actually examined several different cases of the nocebo effect. One of them involved a group of people that had back pain and they were receiving physical therapy.
The people were split into two different groups. One group was told that this particular physical therapy could be really painful. The other one wasn’t told that so they go through the physical therapy and sure enough.
The first group people reported a lot more pain than the second group, and in another similar example, a group of men with prostate issues were given finasteride and half of them. We’re told that it could cause a right-tail dysfunction and the other half was not told this, and at the end of the study, 45 % of the first group reported having some kind of IDI and only 15 % of the second group.
So the nocebo effect can even change your your Willie. So if you’re taking a drug – and you see a commercial for that drug on TV muted immediately because possibly just hearing the side effects could cause you to have those side effects by the way it’s, thought that all those Drug ads that we’re, seeing here in the United States anyway, is actually changing the effectiveness of drugs by manipulating SIBO effect.
There’s, been a frustrating trend in drug trials over the years, which is that drugs new drugs seem to be less effective now than they were decades ago. There was a 2013 study which yes was a few years ago, but it took a look at the effectiveness of drugs and drug trials over drug trials in the past and they found that most of the new drugs that were coming out right now.
We’re, only barely doing better than the placebo. Now one theory on that is that most people, today kind of like Linda earlier with irritable, bowel syndrome, thing a lot of people that sign up for these randomized controlled trials are actually people who have been struggling with something for a long time, and this is sort Of a last-ditch effort, so naturally their cases are a little bit more complicated.
But another theory is that we’re being affected by constantly seeing pharmaceutical ads, that, by being told over and over again that this drug or that drug can cure this thing. Or that thing it’s, changing our expectations of what drugs.
In general can do now, whether or not that’s actually going on. I don’t know, but that is one of the theories out there. Now the obvious question you’re, probably asking right now, is that if we can make people feel better without actually giving them drugs, then why not just use the placebo effect to our advantage, and there are some doctors that have been kind of experimenting With the placebo effects sort of hacking the mind to make patients feel better, but there is sort of a gray area there.
First of all, it’s different for everybody. Some people see a really strong placebo effect. Some people see a weak or when it all depends on what the mindset of the person is, and the second problem is: let’s.
Just be honest: if you’re a doctor and you’re, giving somebody a pill, but you’re, actually giving them something different from what you’re telling them. You’re, giving them there’s. There’s, ethical issues.
There you’re, basically lying to your patients, but some might argue what they call the placebo paradox that, while it might be unethical to give your patients something that’s, not what you’re, actually telling them.
You’re, giving them wouldn’t. It also be unethical to not do something if you knew it could help them. If say, you’ve tried everything in your patients out of options. You know why not and another problem with it seems to be that people who experiment with using placebo in that way the effects of the placebo do wear off over time.
So the power of the mind is amazing, but it’s, not infinite. It’s, not like a dictator. You know telling the body what to do from it’s, really more of a conversation with the body, and if you’d like to check out more about that relationship between the mind and the body, one great place to start is The series called the body on curiosity stream: this is a three-part series that uses powerful microscopic, imaging techniques and computer animation to discuss the various organs in the body and how they’re in a constant state of communication with each other and how many Of our most common diseases are due to breakdowns in that communication.
It’s, a new and revolutionary way of looking at the interconnectedness of the human body in the ways that this new paradigm can be used and improve health and lifespans around the world. This is, of course, just one of thousands of high-quality documentaries on curiosity stream for some of the world’s best filmmakers, and if you sign up at curiosity stream, complex Joe Scott, you’ll, get to see all of them for free For one month and you & # 39, ll get free access to nebula the streaming service that I’m, a part of, as well as a bunch of other smart youtubers like CGP Grey real-life, Laura real engineering, Lindsey Ellis polyphonic.
The list goes on and on plus you can see nebula originals from your favorite creators that you just can’t find anywhere else. It’s free it’s cool. It supports this channel. I think you & # 39, ll love it.
Curiosity stream is one of my very top training services that I go to whenever I have a free moment, which is rare, but even after your free trial goes away, it’s only $ 2.99. A month, so it’s, an amazing deal it & # 39; s, definitely go check.
It out. Curiosity string, comm slice, joke Scott link down the description; big thanks to curiosity stream for supporting this article and a huge shout out to the answer. Files on patreon that are supporting this entire channel and keeping my team afloat and just making an awesome community.
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