Integrated Listening and Reading — 12

Read the text about the placebo effect (you have 7 minutes to read), then watch a video on a similar topic. You will notice that some ideas coincide and some differ in the two materials. Answer questions 1–12 by choosing A if the idea is expressed in both materialsB if it can be found only in the reading textC if it can be found only in the video, and D if neither of the materials expresses the idea.

Placebo

Even though they don’t act on the disease, placebos affect how some people feel. This happens in up to 1 of 3 people. A change in a person’s symptoms as a result of getting a placebo is called the placebo effect. Usually the term “placebo effect” speaks to the helpful effects a placebo has in relieving symptoms. This effect usually lasts only a short time. It’s thought to have something to do with the body’s natural chemical ability to briefly relieve pain and certain other symptoms.

But sometimes the effect goes the other way, and the placebo seems to cause unpleasant symptoms. These may include headaches, nervousness, nausea, or constipation, to name a few of the possible “side effects.” The unpleasant effects that happen after getting a placebo are sometimes called the nocebo effect.

Together, these 2 types of outcomes are sometimes called expectation effects. This means that the person taking the placebo may experience something along the lines of what he or she expects to happen. If a person expects to feel better, that may happen. If the person believes that he or she is getting a strong medicine, the placebo may be thought to cause the side effects. The placebo does not cause any of these effects directly. Instead, the person’s belief in or experience of the placebo helps change the symptoms, or changes the way the person perceives the symptoms.

Some people can have the placebo effect without getting a pill, shot, or procedure. Some may just feel better from visiting the doctor or doing something else they believe will help. This type of placebo effect seems most related to the degree of confidence and faith the patient has in the doctor or activity.

The placebo effect can make some treatments seem like they help certain symptoms, when in fact they do nothing to directly cause a change in the disease. Other factors that are sometimes lumped in with the placebo effect can also make a treatment appear to help even when it does nothing for the illness.

Source of the text

1. The word "placebo" comes from Latin.


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2. Placebos can take different forms.


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3. Placebos are used to measure the effectiveness of real medicine.


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4. About a third of people are likely to experience a placebo effect.


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5. Placebos are especially effective against migraine attacks.


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6. As a rule, positive effects of placebos tend to wear off.


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7. Placebo is one of the expectation effects.


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8. Using placebos in clinical trials is not as popular nowadays as it used to be.


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9. Attention and emotional support can act as a placebo.


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10. Placebos' effects are not always positive.


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11. Placebos seem to affect the body's reaction to pain.


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12. Brain scanning was used to prove that the placebo effect really exists.


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© Екатерина Яковлева, 2016–2018