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fiber + fluids for IBS is not a true placebo.

Posted by opaul on 26 Dec 2010 at 20:57 GMT

#A1kmm and #pwestep are right. This experiment doesn't give the placebo effect a fair test.

And worse, by claiming it is a placebo test, it unfairly promotes the ugly myth that IBS is in people's heads not their guts.

The researchers told one group of people with bowel problems to take a little additional fiber, presumably swallowed with additional fluid. Those people felt a little better. This is no surprise. The researchers point out themselves that the participants may already be taking fiber to help their IBS.

The other group did not take any extra fiber or fluids or make any other changes to their daily lives. They didn't feel much better. No surprise here either.

Frankly, I'm surprised that neither the writers nor the peer-reviewers saw this as an issue. It's not exactly obscure.

Next time, why not find a "placebo" that doesn't get ingested and therefore doesn't change anything in their bowels?

Meanwhile, please be fair to IBS sufferers and be honest about the study's shortcomings.

No competing interests declared.