Parkinson's Movement
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Therebo/Placebo as therapy

I last posted on this forum on the theme of "therebos" about 3 years ago. As I see it, no progress has been made since.

I wonder whether anyone would like to comment on ways forward?

We are all aware of the placebo effect in PD. It is usually seen as a problem, because it makes it harder to construct clinical trials. On the other hand, we could embrace the placebo effect and use its power to relieve symptoms.

A placebo is likely to enhance current medications, not replace them.

Even if the efficacy of a particular placebo diminishes over time, it is likely that we can replace it when required with a different placebo, getting a long term reduction of symptoms.

It is likely that we can improve the efficacy of placebos by engineering them in a positive way (e.g. by colour or by packaging).

Moreover, rather than using a truly inert substance, we could use something which may have a positive effect in its own right, e.g. curcumin or vitamin D. I call something that may either be a straight placebo or may have a therapeutic benefit a "therebo" (THERapy or placEBO).

A therebo is not limited to what you can take as a pill, but includes anything which can be therapeutic, including exercise, the patient/doctor interaction, using this forum, the concept of a therebo itself.

The power of a therebo and the fact that its effectiveness can be affected by the opinions of others gives us all the duty to be very careful when we criticize, explicitly or implicitly, someone else's therebo.


5 Replies

Hi John,

Have you read "You are the placebo" by Joe Dispenza ?

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yes , its an interesting theory , I think esp in PD the placebo effect seems to have some positive benefits ... on the other hand , it would not take long for us to view all drugs as placebo ....... this would not be good


Im a bit lost here John. I understand about the plcebo effect but are you suggesting there should be placebo pills/medication developed?

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Hikoi, that's part of what I'm getting at. But I'd put equal emphasis on things which are not true placebos, that is inert, but which may have true therapeutic value. For instance, a vitamin C drink, packaged nicely, with a glowing, but honest, set of endorsements from leading doctors, would be a possible therebo. It could, I'm not saying would, have benefit to PwP through either the vitamin C or through reducing dehydration and/or the placebo effect.



Hi John I think that s a great idea there are heaps of things that could be targeted at PD as well as other health problems that could be regarded as having placebo effects as well as really relieving symptoms of PD like Magnesium and Melatonin Glutamine ect these natural therepies endorsed by professionals Could make a difference!

Be positive



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