Jo Marchant Interview

18 Feb, 2016 by

Jo Marchant Interview

The use of a placebo is a standard part of medical trials these days. One group receives the drug or treatment being tested, and the other group receives a placebo – a fake pill filled with sugar water or something like that. If the drug is no more effective than the placebo then it is considered ineffective for that purpose.

But that means that a certain percentage of patients, sometimes quite a high percentage of patients, are reporting themselves cured using nothing more than the suggestion that they have been treated. And rather than dismissing that as a statistical anomaly, something to be tested against, some scientists are trying to figure out how the placebo effect works and how to make use of it.

It turns out that the reason may be all in our minds.

Jo Marchant is an award-winning science journalist, with a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology, and in her new book Cure: A Journey into the Science of Mind over Body, Jo travels the world to find the possibilities, and limitations, of our own brain when it comes to health.

Jo spoke with Sky Kirkham about comfort talk, physical limits, and surgical placebos. Originally broadcast 11/02/16. Cure is out through Text Publishing.

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