It's no surprise that placebos -- fake pills that contain no active ingredient -- often work to relieve symptoms. Doctors think placebos work because patients think they might be getting an active drug but there's an element of deception. But now Harvard researchers show that even when volunteers with severe bowel disease know they're getting a placebo, 59 percent had relief from symptoms. Call it an "honest placebo."
Support the news
More NPR or Explore Audio.