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This actually has been the subject of a recent debate/article in Nature. The answer is that the approach varies, depending on the perceived risk for the subjects... One method previously used is to create a 3rd arm for participants on the placebo that receive[d] the actual vaccine later. Once a vaccine is granted emergency approval, there is pressure on ...


Two facts you need: first, clinical trials have very strict rules for who can be in them. Second, some trials are "drug A vs placebo" while others are "Drug A vs Drug B" or "Drug A vs Drugs A and B together" not to mention variations in dose etc. It's not all a matter of "we won't treat half the participants." I was in ...


Placebos are an extremely powerful treatment for many medical conditions. Although you have asked for case reports, a paper published in 2015 by Espay and colleagues in Neurology is one of my favorite papers of all time. In it, the authors randomized participants with Parkinson disease (a neurologic disease characterized by tremor, slow movement and rigidity)...


Two things: Clinical trials are generally double-blinded, meaning that neither the subjects nor the researchers know what the subject is receiving, and Potential ethical issues are considered ahead of time by both the researchers as well as Human Subject Review Committees who have to approve the research protocol.

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