Understanding the placebo effect is difficult. There are, it seems, more definitions on offer than research groups investigating it and all are unsatisfactory in one way or another. Difficulties increase when trying to answer some of the many questions that placebos pose. Do we need placebos to generate a placebo effect? What elements constitute a placebo response? Are placebo effects always beneficial? Are some situations more placebo-prone than others? What ethical implication does the use of a placebo have in research or clinical practice?
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