“Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air — even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.” Placebos are known to work even in some cases when the patient knows they’re getting a placebo. NYT Mag: What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? (“New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.”)