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Lies…Still the Best Medicine?

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Back in July of 2002 the New England Journal of Medicine published a study on arthroscopic surgery. This study featured the usual division between the control group and the experimental group. The experimental group received real surgeries and the control group went through placebo surgeries.  Somewhat surprisingly, patients who received the placebo surgery reported both feeling better and performed better at walking and stair climbing than patients who had received the real surgery. After reading this study, I wrote “Lies…the Best Medicine?” and it appeared in my What Don’t You Know? While working through my massive backlog of magazines, I came across a 2018 update on placebo surgeries in Scientific America in which Claudia Wallis argued in favor of fake operations. Reminded of my ancient essay, I decided to revisit my thoughts on the ethics of using placebo surgeries. As in my old essay, I think that there is a decent argument against using such surgeries. The basic idea is that. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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