What’s the deal with placebo pills? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

This article on the placebo effect first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 1 October 2021. For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. The website for Zeebo Relief tablets reads like any other suspiciously vague alternative health treatment. “Help you tap into the power of your mind and body,” the site enthuses. The pills have … Continue reading What’s the deal with placebo pills? | Cosmos Weekly Taster

Placebo effect

The website for Zeebo Relief tablets reads like any other suspiciously vague alternative health treatment. “Help you tap into the power of your mind and body,” the site enthuses. The pills have been “used in published clinical trials”(it’s always “used” with these things, not “shown to be effective”) for “chronic pain, stress, and performance”. They … Continue reading Placebo effect

Could a nasal spray protect you from COVID-19?

Researchers from the University of Melbourne have observed that spraying heparin on epithelial cells stops SARS-CoV-2 to infect them, at least in vitro (that is, in a petri dish). If the heparin spray had the same effect in humans, a simple, cheap nasal spray could help prevent COVID-19 infection. The research team is setting up … Continue reading Could a nasal spray protect you from COVID-19?

Stopwatches set for modern clinical trials

It took a pandemic to familiarise the world with the concept of a clinical trial, but even COVID couldn’t make them sexy. Fundamental to getting a drug or device to market, the process is expensive, complicated, drawn out, and prone to fail. But well before COVID-19 was a nightly news feature, researchers around the world … Continue reading Stopwatches set for modern clinical trials

The fascinating history of clinical trials

Clinical trials are under way around the world, including in Australia, testing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. These clinical trials largely fall into two groups. With observational studies, researchers follow a group of people to see what happens to them. With experimental studies, people are assigned to treatments, then followed. These study designs have come about … Continue reading The fascinating history of clinical trials