Interview: Purveyors of mystery


By Laura Spinney (Image: Gautier Deblonde) Psychiatrist Patrick Lemoine believes that modern medicine still contains a large dose of magic – and it goes by the name of the placebo effect. According to Lemoine, the placebo effect can either swamp or enhance any proven pharmacological effect when a drug moves from the lab to real life. Human beings have exploited the placebo’s formidable power since biblical times, yet Lemoine contends that western medicine is in denial about how heavily it still relies on the effect. The result?
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