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Reporter bias

Posted by DanielZigman on 23 Dec 2010 at 01:57 GMT

I commend the authors for addressing this interesting and controversial issue. The authors are correct to highlight the possibility of a significant reporter bias in this study. I am reminded of one of the comments made by one of the patients in the study Kaptchuk et al. 2009 “Maybe I Made Up the Whole Thing”: Placebos and Patients’ Experiences in a Randomized Controlled Trial.

In that article, the patient identified as Abigail commented commented that "... recently the idea has popped into my head that, 'Oh my G-d, what if they find out that it’s not effective?'… That’s, that is kind of scary. And then I felt bad for the acupuncturist, too. It would invalidate what she’s doing. ..."

It is likely that many of the patients who volunteered for this study had an interest in the healing power of placebo. Readers should be cautious drawing broad conclusions from this highly selected sample.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Reporter bias

paulalbert replied to DanielZigman on 23 Dec 2010 at 16:18 GMT

Interesting comment. I wonder if the placebo effect would take a hit if the researcher was something of a jerk, and patients were therefore less invested in the success of his work. Does one need IRB approval to be impolite to a patient???

No competing interests declared.