The word placebo, from Latin “I shall please,” was defined in Quincy’s Lexicon-Medicum (1811) as “[any medicine] adapted more to please than to benefit the patient”. But as you probably know, pharmacologically inert “sugar pills” can do much more than just please — they can bring about very real physical benefits for patients suffering from a range of painful and debilitating conditions. This extraordinary phenomenon is both tangibly promising, in terms of disease management, and intellectually tantalizing. You gotta wonder: Are people really being cured? Do placebos work on children? How about people with cognitive impairments? Are hypnosis, acupuncture, and prayer related to the placebo effect? Are there certain conditions that are completely impervious to placebos? UCSF’s Dr. Howard Fields will answer our questions and share his expertise on the tremendously fascinating placebo (and nocebo) effect.
WHAT: Placebo and the Illusory Nature of Perception
WHO: Dr. Howard Fields, Professor of Neurology, UC San Francisco
WHEN: 7:00pm, Monday, June 2, 2014
WHERE: SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 – 11th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
HOW: Presented in collaboration with Ask a Scientist.
WHY: Because we’re curious creatures.
ADMISSION: FREE. Please register.
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