Henry K. Beecher 's The Placebo Effect

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The placebo effect is the idea in that one believes that a certain substance or object can physically and mentally benefit them. The placebo effect is a fascinating discovery that was first studied by Henry K. Beecher in World War II. Beecher served as an Army medic in WWII, helping wounded soldiers coming back from battle against the Axis forces. While treating soldiers, Beecher realized that the morphine supply was running low and he was forced to use a saline solution to infuse into the wounded warriors coming back into base camp. In an act to help the wounded soldiers, Beecher continued to notify the soldiers that the solution being injected into their bodies was in fact morphine. An amazing statistic that Beecher discovered was that 40% of the wounded soldiers reported that the saline solution helped ease the pain. (Perry). Beecher had known he had made a remarkable discovery and the term placebo was born. You may be wondering, how were the wounded soldiers benefitting from the saline solution? Research on the placebo effect has mainly focused on the relationship of mind and body. One major theories of the causes of the placebo effect revolves around the individual’s expectations of the substance in which they are taking. (Perry). If an individual truly believes in their brain that whatever they are taking will benefit them, it is very possible that their body will react the same as their brain did to the substance. Many research conducted with modern day

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