Survey: Half of US Doctors Use Placebo Treatments

LONDON (AP) _ About half of American doctors in a new survey say
they regularly give patients placebo treatments, usually drugs or
vitamins that won't really help their condition.
And the survey found many of these doctors are not honest with
their patients about what they are doing.
That contradicts advice from the American Medical Association,
which recommends doctors use treatments with the full knowledge of
their patients.
Placebos, as defined in the survey, went beyond the typical
sugar pill commonly used in medical studies. A placebo was any
treatment that wouldn't necessarily help the patient.
Scientists have long known of the ``placebo effect,'' in which
patients given a fake or ineffective treatment often improve
anyway, simply because they expected to get better.
The study is being published online in Friday's issue of BMJ,
formerly the British Medical Journal.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)