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The Placebo Effect in Medicine

A report by Finnish researchers and published just last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that the benefits of keyhole operations to repair degenerative knee problems like tears in the meniscus are of no greater value than sham operations.

Before we go any farther…don’t you find it disturbing that they would do “fake” operations just to see how people would respond?

In any event, they respond just as well as they do to the “real” operation. Doesn’t this make you wonder how useful the real knee surgery is?

But has this stopped “scientific” medicine from doing these knee operations? According to the Finnish research article, “keyhole surgery to repair torn cartilage has risen significantly, despite lack of evidence that it actually helps.”

The research results show that a year post surgery, both groups of patients (real and fake operation) had an equally low rate of symptoms and were equally satisfied with the overall situation of their knee.

Both groups of patients said they believed their knee felt better than before the operation.

When asked if they would choose the same procedure again, 93% of those receiving the “real” operation said they would, as did 96% of the people receiving no operation at all…a statistically better result for the placebo.

How many other medical procedures “succeed” because of the placebo effect?

The researcher’s conclusion: "It's difficult to imagine that such a clear result would result in no changes to treatment practices." Currently, this operation is the most common surgical procedure after cataract surgery.

The Bottom Line: By ceasing the procedures which have proven ineffective, we would avoid performing at least 500,000 useless surgeries in the US.

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