Sugar-pill medicine

Just expecting to feel better can sometimes cure what’s ailing you

By Susan Gaidos, 00:00 AM December 17, 2008

Fake medicine, such as a pill filled with sugar, can sometimes make the people taking it feel better.

Fake medicine, such as a pill filled with sugar, can sometimes make the people taking it feel better.

Rapideye / iStockphoto

Feeling sick? You wouldn’t want to take fake medicine for an earache or major illness. But in some cases, the fake stuff can help.

Studies have long shown that fake medicines, or placebos, can produce the same healing effect as an active drug. This phenomenon is known as the placebo effect.

Placebos come in the form of sugar pills, fake creams or other substances. Medical ...

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