In a recent study of a possible surgical treatment of Parkinson’s disease, patients who didn’t receive the treatment but who were subjected to a similar surgical procedure reported improvment in their symptoms. The NIH is funding further research into the placebo effect as experienced in surgery, but ethicists say no surgical procedure can be described accurately as a placebo. A panel discusses the medical and ethical implications of placebo effects in medical research.


  • Art Caplan Bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dan Moerman Medical anthropologist at the University of Michigan at Dearborn
  • Robert Hahn Epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control


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