Monday, September 14, 2009

How some food can make us sick

But is it the "nocebo effect?"

The nocebo effect is negative stepsister of the placebo effect, where we feel good after eating foods, taking a remedy or doing something we believe is healthy.


With the nocebo effect, people can experience real and extraordinary physical and mental symptoms of illness, even paralysis, when they believe they’ve eaten or been exposed to something they think or fear could be harmful. The nocebo effect is behind most fears of unseen dangers lurking around us, especially in our food, and explains how people can sincerely believe that something is making them sick … even when there is no biological basis for their symptoms. When we’re told, or know, there is no scientific basis for what we’re experiencing, it’s still hard to believe that our minds can be that powerful.


Psychologists have cautioned that public health and nutrition information, or simply reading about scary diseases, triggers the nocebo effect. The growing trend to issue precautionary advice concerning health risks, even when there is no evidence for any credible risk to people’s health, can also feed the nocebo effect. Fears are not benign and the nocebo effect can have real and harmful effects and there are growing examples in the medical literature.


Follow the link above to read the full article.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

1 comment:

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