In my last post I discussed the findings of a set of vertebroplasty studies that revealed the power of the positive “placebo” effect of informed patients. Let me quote at length one research group’s evaluation:

“The power of information disclosure to influence patient outcomes is borne out by the fact that patients receiving vertebroplasty in the sham-controlled trials (Buchbinder et al., 2009; Kallmes et al., 2009) reported a substantially lower mean reduction in pain as compared with similar patients who received vertebroplasty in the open trial of this procedure. … In the former, they knew as a result of the informed consent disclosure that they had a 50% chance of receiving either vertebroplasty or a fake intervention disguised as the real procedure. In the latter, they knew that they were receiving standard vertebroplasty.

“These results suggest that patients’ expectations of benefits were diminished in the sham-controlled trials compared to the open trial, as a result of being informed about the double-blind study design and thus being uncertain about whether they were receiving a real treatment believed by practitioners to be beneficial, or a fake treatment provided as a control intervention.”(Buchbinder et al., 2009; Kallmes et al., 2009; Klazen et al., 2010)But there are three sources here. Who is being quoted?

This case clearly reveals it often is the commitment and alignment to what one feels is right that makes the difference, not the actual procedure, treatment or medication taken.

There is an increased therapeutic effect if the patient is aligned with the treatment and receives positive outcome reinforcement. Research reveals that patients’ increased control over their health and body is beneficial. Treatments that encourage patient empowerment, and share tools for better control of reactions to stress, act to favorably reinforce the direction of patients’ health outcomes and should be considered in the treatment “Plan.”