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  • Try and see if you can find the real tablet on this screen.

  • If you guessed any of these, you're wrong, because these are all tic-tacs!

  • But if I was a medical professional handing over some tablets to cure your headache or the morning after pill (you wouldn't want that to be a tic-tacs),

  • how would you know that it's the real deal?

  • This is where the placebo effect takes place.

  • Could a doctor give you a pill which is actually a sugar pill (or tic-tac if you say it's supposed to be minty) and cure their patient?

  • In one study conducted around the placebo effect, it was found that if doctors said that the patient would "feel better in a few more days" that patients recovery was increased

  • than saying something like "this isn't going to help you at all."

  • Some studies have even shown that the amount you have to take, the size, how many you have to take a day, what box the drug comes in

  • and even the colour of the pill can make the effect stronger or weaker.

  • Even things like getting an injection instead of taking a pill can have a stronger effect, even though they're all medically ineffective.

  • So does that mean our heads can just heal our bodies?

  • Some research suggests that the placebo effect works because the body releases endorphins, not to be confused with dolphins.

  • Endorphins are the body's natural pain killers and could be why the placebo effect works quite well when we're trying to get rid of the pain.

  • One study found that those who were given a real drug which increased their hormone level had the same amount of increase when they were given a placebo tablet later on.

  • The same study found that those who didn't get the initial hormonal increase drug didn't see their hormone levels increase.

  • The placebo effect doesn't work for everyone,

  • but it's interesting to think that perhaps if we learnt more about it we could eventually cure ourselves with the power of our brains,

  • which would be much more useful than having to deal with the side-effects of the tablets we take today.

Try and see if you can find the real tablet on this screen.

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