This is weird science news: apparently, placebos–pills and potions that are basically inert, not supposed to do anything, used as a yardstick against which to test the effectiveness of a new drug–have in recent years been getting stronger.
This strange phenomenon is discussed in a long article which I had probably better not try to paraphrase.
Placebos shouldn’t do anything for the patient, and yet they do. Mind over matter? You truly believe the pill you took will help you–and it does make you feel better, even though it’s not really medicine but only a harmless placebo.
This gets weirder and weirder. Why are placebos now roughly three times as “effective”–pseudo-effective: is that a word?–as they were in the 1990s? What if you know your “medicine” is only a placebo? Does it still work anyway?
And how many horror movies have you seen about a voodoo curse that kills the victim only because he believes it will? Sort of an anti-placebo.
This brings us closer to that shadowy, shifting border where science ends and woo-woo stuff begins.