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新编大学英语2【浙大版】课文阅读 b2u4_inclass_text

Is There a Doctor in the Body?

[1] When you go to the doctor, you like to come away with a prescription . It makes you feel better to know you will get some medicine. But the doctor knows that medicine is not always needed. Sometimes all a sick person needs is some reassurance that all will be well. In such cases the doctor may prescribe a placebo .

[2] A placebo is a sugar pill, a harmless shot, or an empty capsule . Even though they have no medicine in them, these things seem to make people well. The patient thinks it is medicine and begins to get better. How does this happen?

[3]The study of the placebo opens up new knowledge about the way the human body can heal itself. It is as if there was a doctor in each of us. The “ doctor ” will heal the body for us if we let it.

[4]But it is not yet known just how the placebo works to heal the body. Some people say it works because the human mind fools itself. These people say that if the mind is fooled into thinking it got medicine, then it will act as if it did, and the body will feel better.

[5] Other people say this is not so. They say that the placebo makes the wish to get better become reality . The placebo will not work if the patient knows it is a placebo. This shows that the body is not fooled by it. It seems that if patients think they have been given medicine, they will have hope. They feel that they are getting some help. This gives them a stronger will to get better, and that is what helps to heal them.

[6] Placebos do not always work. The success of thistreatment seems to rest a lot with the relationship between the patient and the doctor. If the patient has a lot of trust in the doctor and if the doctor really wants to help the patient, then the placebo is more likely to work. So in a way , the doctor is the most powerful placebo of all.

[7] An example of the doctor's role in making the placebo work can be seen in this study. Some patients with bleeding ulcers were put in two groups. The first group were told by a doctor that they had been given a new drug which, it was hoped, would give them some relief . The second group were told by a nurse that they had been given a new drug but that not much was known about how it would work. As a result, 70 percent of the people in the first group got much better. Only 25 percent of the people in the second group got better. And both groups had in fact been given the same thing — a placebo.

[8]The placebo has been found to work with a lot of different cases. It helps such things as seasickness , coughs, colds, and even pain after an operation . And there was an experiment done to see if a placebo could help old people stay healthy and live longer.

[9] The test was done in Romania with 150 people over the age of 60. They were put in three groups with 50 people in each group. The first group were given nothing at all. The second group were given a placebo. The third group were given a real drug and told that it would help with the problems of old age. (In fact, it was not a drug for old age at all.) The three groups were studied for many years. The first group showed no changes from the way old people in that village had always been. The second group (with the placebo) had much better health and a lower death rate. The third group (with the real drug) showed much the same results as the group that took the placebo.

[10] A placebo can also have bad effects. If patients expect a bad reaction to medicine, then they will also show a bad reaction to the placebo. This would seem to show that a lot of how you react to medicine is in your mind rather than in your body. Some doctors still think that if the placebo can have bad effects it should never be used. They think there is still not enough known about it.

[11] And yet, the use of the placebo has been well known for hundreds of years in other countries. Tribal doctors in some African countries have known for a long time that patients will get better if they think they are going to. Many of the “ treatments ” they use do not seem able to make a sick person better, and yet such treatments work.

[12] The strange power of the placebo does seem to suggest that the human mind is stronger than we think it is. There are people who say you can heal your body by using your mind. And the interesting thing is that even people who swear this is not possible have been healed by a placebo. ( 839 words)
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