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Ask a Scientist + Wonderfest: TOPIC: Placebo and the Illusory Nature of Perception
Hi everyone, Fascinating topic coming up on June 2nd. Get yourselves in the mood by listening to this 2009 episode of Radiolab (http://www.radiolab.org/story/91539-placebo/), particularly this story (http://www.radiolab.org/story/299045-hypnotist-and-warts/) about one of the first medical hypnotists. Brains! They are SO INTERESTING!!
TOPIC: Placebo and the Illusory Nature of Perception
The word placebo, from Latin "I shall please," was defined in Quincy’s Lexicon-Medicum (1811) as "[any medicine] adapted more to please than to benefit the patient". But as you probably know, pharmacologically inert "sugar pills" can do much more than just please — they can bring about very real physical benefits for patients suffering from a range of painful and debilitating conditions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo#List_of_medical_conditions). This extraordinary phenomenon is both tangibly promising, in terms of disease management, and intellectually tantalizing. You gotta wonder: Are people really being cured? Do placebos work on children? How about people with cognitive impairments? Are hypnosis (http://www.radiolab.org/story/299045-hypnotist-and-warts/), acupuncture, and prayer related to the placebo effect? Are there certain conditions that are completely impervious to placebos? UCSF's Dr. Howard Fields (http://profiles.ucsf.edu/howard.fields) will answer our questions and share his expertise on the tremendously fascinating placebo (and nocebo) effect. This event is presented in partnership with Wonderfest (http://wonderfest.org/), the Bay Area Beacon of Science.
Speaker: Dr. Howard Fields (http://profiles.ucsf.edu/howard.fields), Professor of Neurology, UCSF
When: Monday, June 2, at 7:00 pm
Where: SoMa StrEat Food Park (http://somastreatfoodpark.com/),[masked]th Street, San Francisco. (This awesome venue has a humongous indoor seating area.)
Eats: Come early and bring your appetites! SoMa StrEat Food Park is San Francisco’s first permanent food truck pod. They host up to ten gourmet food trucks (http://somastreatfoodpark.com/vendours/) at a time, along with the city’s only beer and wine truck.
Registration: Not required, but registration (http://www.eventbrite.com/e/placebo-and-the-illusory-nature-of-perception-wonder-science-talk-registration-11669300191) will help us tally a headcount.