The magic of placebos

People say placebo effect like they mean “it didn’t work” or “they made it up”; It puts me in mind of Bill’s comment in True Blood: “No offense Sookie, but humans are shockingly susceptible to just about every form of thought manipulation.”The thing is, the placebo effect isn’t in our heads. It’s chemically measurable- through an increase in dopamine levels when told you were going to get an an analgesic, through an increase in basophil levels when injected with homeopathic (i.e. nonexistent) levels of histamine*, and through a changes in ghrelin levels when given different expectations about the calorie content of a shake. The original placebo effect- a decrease in pain when told a sugar pill was a pain medication-doesn’t work if you introduce an opiate blocker. My psych 101 professor said women could gain about half a cup size over six months through hypnosis. And I have seen multiple doctors that spotted things others didn’t, which led to greatly improved quality of life, that also believe in homeopathy.Which leads me to conclude that human brain is just an astonishingly powerful device that hasn’t yet figured out how to properly harness itself. Yet.*Extra interesting because most allergy tests use a saline injection as a negative control. Last time I had it done they told me which one was the control. I wonder what happens if they don’t.