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A magician demonstrates the power of the placebo effect.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 15, 2010; 12:44 PM ET
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This is still one of the most fascinating things I've ever read. About the placebo effect and the problems its creating for Big Pharma. There's an ocean of unexplored territory regarding the human mind.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | March 15, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a nurse so I know fully the amazing impact the placebo effect has on patients. Nothing made that case for me so effectively as Celebrex. Even the company website claimed it was "as effective as Ibuprofen. Think about that. The best claim the maker can make is that it works as well as something you can buy over the counter at Walmart, but instead they want to charge you 108.88 (also at Wal-Mart) for 60 pills. But they didn't show commercials of people saying "When I have and extra hundred dollars I want to waste, I grab this bottle of Celebrex, when really this 8 dollar bottle of generic ibuprofen will give me the same pain relief." No, the ads showed people playing tennis and jumping up and down and having a great old time. You had to read the fine print on the bottom of the page or check the website to find out that you were buying the Louis Vuitton of NSAIDS. That is why health care reform is going to be so hard. People do not make smart health care decisions because they are so swayed by advertising, hype and their internal hope that a pill can cure anything.
About the video. How did he do it? I am a bit annoyed he didn't show us the trick like he did with the knife.

Posted by: cminmd1 | March 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

>>How did he do it? I am a bit annoyed he didn't show us the trick like he did with the knife.>>

There are two main theories

1) The needle was in a fold in his skin. The fold was held together by an adhesive. The blood was in the bulb of the needle and came out when he squeezed the bulb.

2) It wasn't a trick. He really pierced his skin.

Posted by: fuse | March 15, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

He counted on the fact that most people couldn't watch it. Or he did pierce himself but because he pretended he didn't (showed no ill effects) we didn't believe it--reverse placebo effect.

I really have no idea. I couldn't watch it except at the end.

Posted by: Mimikatz | March 15, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's a really cool trick that shows that the patter can be in any language and you can still follow it:

Posted by: Mimikatz | March 15, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

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