1-10 Hope may lead to unrealistic expectations

Hope can be a good thing, but sometimes people in need or desperation hope that treatments will work and assume they cannot do any harm. Similarly, fear can lead people to use treatments that may not work and can cause harm. As a result, they may waste time and money on treatments that have never been shown to be useful, or may actually cause harm.

Do not assume that a treatment is beneficial or safe, or that it is worth whatever it costs, simply because you hope that it might help.

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How do you regulate Wu?

Ben Goldacre finds that students of Chinese medicine are taught (on a science degree) that the spleen is “the root of post-heaven essence”.



Exaggeration and hopes or fears can lead to unrealistic expectations about treatment effects.


The placebo effect

A video by NHS Choices explaining what the placebo effect is, and describing its role in medical research and the pharmaceutical industry.


Selling screening

‘Selling screening can be easy. Induce fear by exaggerating risk. Offer hope by exaggerating the benefit of screening. And don’t […]


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