Tuesday 26 June 2018

Placebo pacemakers

Once inserted, heart pacemakers can be turned off and on remotely. This makes them well suited for a placebo study, and that’s what these researchers did in the late 1990’s, with surprising results. It is a shame that no one else has done it since.

Sunday 15 April 2018

Stimulating spines - the placebo trials

Addit: Two placebo studies using spinal cord stimulation (SCS) were brought to my attention by an attendee at a neuromodulation conference I was speaking at a few days ago. None of the proponents of SCS included these papers in their talks and the spine study was not included in the systematic review I refer to in my previous blog. And read on, I found a third placebo study.

Friday 13 April 2018

Stimulating spines

Spinal cord stimulators are small battery-powered devices that are implanted in the back and electrically stimulate the spinal cord to relieve chronic pain, often from failed spine surgery. These days they can be controlled remotely and can even do your step count. They are widely used and are very expensive. But we don’t know if they work or not – good evidence hasn’t been produced, and this problem doesn’t look like being corrected anytime soon. Why should it, when everybody is paying for the treatment now?