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Study (2011, on Asthma) showing placebos changed subjective outcome measure but not objective one

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    I think it was somebody on PR who recommendeded this. I've just read it and thought it was good.

    Free full text:

    Cheshire, Valentijn, Sean and 6 others like this.
  2. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    So a placebo treatment alters attitude toward patient health, but not the health.

    This article can directly be cited as an example of why the PACE trial claims may be wrong.

    I will need to read the paper though. I wonder what to make of this line:

    Valentijn and barbc56 like this.
  3. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member


    I have been looking for this very study as I wanted to bookmark it. I did mention in a post I was looking for it but don't remember in what context or how long ago this was, so I'm not sure if this is where you saw it mentioned.

    This study has so many implications.

    Thanks! :thumbsup:

    Dolphin, alex3619 and Kati like this.
  4. eafw

    eafw Senior Member

    That line is from the abstract, and slightly ambiguous as it stands alone there. It makes more sense in the context of what they say in the paper itself

    "Our research has important implications both for the treatment of asthma and for clinical-trial design in general. Many patients with asthma have symptoms that remain uncontrolled, and the discrepancy between objective pulmonary function and patients' self-reports noted in this study suggests that subjective improvement in asthma should be interpreted with caution and that objective outcomes should be more heavily relied on for optimal asthma care. Indeed, although improvement in objective measures of lung function would be expected to correlate with subjective measures, our study suggests that in clinical trials, reliance solely on subjective outcomes may be inherently unreliable, since they may be significantly influenced by placebo effects."

    IOW, placebo is clinically meaningful in terms of reported effects, to the extent it can give a reported improvement as good as the active drug. But reported effects are unreliable - they don't correlate to actual effects - so should be used with caution when claiming a particular outcome.

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