Be an Informed Consumer: Use Multimedia to Know the Science

Be an Informed Consumer: Use Multimedia to Know the Science

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted January 26, 2017

Background

Understanding complex scientific concepts often requires specialized knowledge based on higher academic degrees and years of professional experience. However, basic scientific concepts are easier to understand.

Your desire to learn the science behind consumer health, with the guidance of multimedia instruction, can develop your scientific literacy to improve your personal healthcare decision-making.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is the Federal Government lead agency focusing on the study of the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative interventions.

When you visit the NCCIH web page titled, Be an Informed Consumer, you will find many health information resources to help you to Know the Science behind health research.

For example, the NCCIH web page includes a video titled, What is a Placebo?

Get Informed Video: What is a Placebo?

In the video titled, What is a Placebo? Q and A with Ted Kaptchuk, M.D., a medical doctor discuses The Therapeutic Encounter between the clinician and the patient in terms of the Placebo Effect.

In this eight-minute video, Doctor Kaptchuk talks in plain language about the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. You will learn that a Placebo is usually a sugar pill. The Placebo Effect is about how you experience and react to things, such as symptoms and complaints.

In general, the Placebo Effect, also called the Placebo Response, has been defined as the benefit that patients receive from a treatment that has no active components.

What is The Therapeutic Encounter?

The Therapeutic Encounter is about how your doctor and you interact. If you feel hope and trust during your interaction, it is more likely that you will experience a Placebo Effect of relief from symptoms such as, anxiety, depression, headache, insomnia, nausea, or pain.

Of course, conventional prescription drugs, procedures, and surgery are crucial to treating many medical conditions. For example, Placebo Effects will not shrink a tumor or lower cholesterol.

However, a critical part of all health care is the thoughtfulness and caring that the clinician (for example, the doctor, nurse, allied health professional, or complementary health practitioner) communicates to the patient.

Find a Caring Clinician

The bottom line advice of this video is that you should try to find a clinician with whom you are comfortable, according to Doctor Kaptchuk. Finding a clinician whom you trust is one way to take charge of your own healthcare.

For more information on how to Be an Informed Consumer, see Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Be an Informed Consumer.
Summary Note: Fact sheets, videos, and slides that can help you to think critically about issues such as effectiveness and safety, when considering complementary healthcare approaches.
(Accessed 21 January 2017)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Know the Science. Know, Discover, Get Informed: Videos. What is a Placebo? Placebo Effect. Q & A with Ted Kaptchuk, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.
Summary Note: Eight-minute video discusses how the interpersonal style of a clinician may bring about a positive response called a Placebo Effect that is independent of any specific treatment.
(Accessed 23 January 2017)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Know the Science. The Facts about Health News Stories
Summary Note: Series of 12 slides present examples of health news stories. You are asked to answer what is missing from each news story. Answers are provided. One slide is a checklist of questions to help you to understand health news stories.
(Accessed 23 January 2017)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Know the Science. Nine Questions to Help You Make Sense of Scientific Research
Summary Note: Series of 10 slides help you to understand the information you may find in a scientific journal article, such as the Abstract, Methods, and Results. Defines basic, translational, and clinical research. Explains difference between statistical and clinical significance. Encourages joint decision-making with your clinician.
(Accessed 23 January 2017)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Know the Science. Understanding Drug-Supplement Interactions Test Your Knowledge.
Summary Note: Series of 13 slides asks you true or false and multiple choice questions, followed by correct answers, about your understanding of interactions between dietary supplements and prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Includes advice on how to avoid problems if you are going to have surgery.
(Accessed 23 January 2017)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Study Examines the Placebo Response in Patients with Asthma. NCCIH Spotlight, July 15, 2011.
Summary Note: Study of 40 asthma patients sheds light on the Placebo Effect on subjective and objective outcome measures in clinical trials. Data showed that only treatment with an albuterol medication inhaler improved lung function and relieved the symptomatic distress caused by the restricted movement of air. However, patients’ self-reports on their symptoms showed significant and approximately equal improvement with albuterol, a placebo inhaler, and sham acupuncture.
See citation for this study published in The New England Journal of Medicine at Wechsler and others, in this blog list of Selected Information Resources.
(Accessed 24 January 2017)

National Public Radio. One Scholar’s Take on the Power of the Placebo. Transcript of radio interview, January 06, 2012.
Summary Note: Discussion of potential applications for the healing power of trust and emotional support between clinician and patient. Interview with Ted Kaptchuk, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Director, Program in Placebo Studies and The Therapeutic Encounter, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.
(Accessed 23 January 2017)

Wechsler, Michael E., M.D., John M. Kelley, Ph.D., Ingrid O.E. Boyd, M.P.H., Stefanie Dutlie, B.S., Gautham Marigowda, M.B., Irving Kirsch, Ph.D., Elliot Israel, M.D., and Ted J. Kaptchuk. Active Albuterol or Placebo, Sham Acupuncture, or No Intervention in Asthma . The New England Journal of Medicine. 2011 July 14; 365(2): 119-126.
Summary Note: The New England Journal of Medicine author manuscript is available in PubMed Central 2012 January 14. In this blog list of Selected Information Resources, also see Summary Note for NCCIH. Study Examines the Placebo Response in Patients with Asthma.
(Full Text accessed 25 January 2017)

 

 

 

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