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The amazing case of Mr Wright
This placebo effect story is based on a 1957 report by psychologist Bruno Klopfer of the University of California, Los Angeles, entitled “Psychological Variables in Human Cancer.”
A male patient, who doctors referred to as “Mr. Wright”, was dying from advanced lymphomasarcoma
Huge tumours, some the size of apples, were growing inside his neck, armpits, groin, chest and stomach. His liver and spleen were hugely bloated and his lungs filled with fluid that had to be drained every day in order for him to breathe.
Only one possible outcome
Doctors had tried every available recognised treatment and could see only one outcome for the unfortunate Mr Wright.
However, after reading promising reports in the press, Mr. Wright was confident that a new wonder drug called Krebiozen could cure him. He begged his doctors to get him the drug
His doctors managed to procure a course of Krebiozen for Mr Wright and several other patients in their care.
On his first injection of the drug Mr. Wright was bedridden and gasping for every breath just to survive. His doctor, Doctor West, went home that Friday night not expecting Mr Wright to survive the weekend.
On Monday morning, Doctor West was stunned to find that Mr Wright was happily walking around the hospital, making jokes with the nurses.
Mr. Wright’s tumours had shrunk by about half in just 2 days, and after 10 more days of treatment he was discharged from the hospital and expected, in time, to recover completely.
What was just as strange though, is that all the other patients in the hospital who had also been given Krebiozen showed no improvements at all.
For Mr Wright though, everything was going really well and his tumours continued to shrink.
But, over the next few months he started to become extremely anxious by press reports questioning the efficacy of Krebiozen and Mr Wright gradually spiralled into deep depression.
Mr Wright eventually suffered a relapse and was re-admitted back into hospital. His tumours had now stopped shrinking.
New improved drug
Doctor West soon cottoned on to what was going on here, and decided to trick his patient, he told him that a “new improved, highly concentrated and doubly effective version of Krebiozen” was due to be delivered to the hospital in the next few days.
Mr Wright was very excited about this and his hopes were raised significantly.
A few days later, Doctor West injected Mr Wright with with version 2 of Krebiozen, in reality it was just distilled water.
Within a day Mr Wright had improved even more than he had the last time. Soon he found himself walking out of the hospital a very happy man.
A few months later, now symptom-free, he remained healthy until he started reading reports from the American Medical Association that proved without doubt that Krebiozen was totally worthless. Mr Wright finally gave up and died within two days.
The Placebo Effect
As Mr. Wright’s experiences show, a patient’s expectations and beliefs can greatly affect the course of an illness.
When psychological factors tied to an inactive substance, such as Krebiozen, lead to recovery, doctors call the improvement the placebo effect.
Many conspiracy theories persist that Krebiozen is a cancer cure that is being held back by the government. The theory being that if cancer was curable the pharmaceutical industry would lose trillions of dollars.
Well, who am I to judge? I’m just a crusty old blogger 🙂
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Placebo Effect – The amazing case of Mr Wright (c) 2016 aeef.net