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  • In 1996, 56 volunteers took part in a study

    1996 年時,56 位自願者參與一項研究

  • to test a new painkiller called Trivaricaine.

    以測試一種新的止痛藥, 名叫 Trivaricaine

  • On each subject, one index finger was covered in the new painkiller

    每個實驗對象的一隻食指都被塗上新的止痛藥

  • while the other remained untouched.

    而另一食指則保留原樣

  • Then, both were squeezed in painful clamps.

    而後,兩隻食指都用會致痛的鉗子夾緊

  • The subjects reported that the treated finger hurt less than the untreated one.

    實驗對象敘述塗藥食指較沒塗藥的不痛

  • This shouldn't be surprising,

    這本應不足為奇

  • except Trivaricaine wasn't actually a painkiller,

    但是事實上,Trivaricaine 不是止痛藥

  • just a fake concoction with no pain-easing properties at all.

    只是一種毫無止痛功效的假混合物

  • What made the students so sure this dummy drug had worked?

    是什麼讓學生如此肯定這假藥有效呢?

  • The answer lies in the placebo effect,

    答案在於「安慰劑效應」

  • an unexplained phenomenon

    是種尚未被解釋的現象

  • wherein drugs, treatments, and therapies that aren't supposed to have an effect,

    在原本應無效的藥物、治療及各種療法

  • and are often fake,

    且往往是假的

  • miraculously make people feel better.

    卻神奇地讓病人感覺好些

  • Doctors have used the term placebo since the 1700s

    自 1700 年代起, 醫生已使用「安慰劑」這個詞

  • when they realized the power of fake drugs to improve people's symptoms.

    當時他們已了解假藥改善病人症狀的效力

  • These were administered when proper drugs weren't available,

    當合適藥物缺乏

  • or if someone imagined they were ill.

    或有人幻想自己生病時, 醫生會使用安慰劑

  • In fact, the word placebo means "I shall please" in Latin,

    事實上,安慰劑在拉丁文 是「我會使你滿意」之意

  • hinting at a history of placating troubled patients.

    隱喻它撫慰受折磨的病人由來已久了

  • Placebos had to mimic the real treatments in order to be convincing,

    安慰劑必須酷似真的治療以取信病人

  • so they took the form of sugar pills,

    所以他們採用糖製錠劑

  • water-filled injections,

    充水注射針劑

  • and even sham surgeries.

    甚至模擬手術

  • Soon, doctors realized that duping people in this way had another use:

    很快地,醫生了解此種欺瞞人們方式有另一用途:

  • in clinical trials.

    使用在臨床試驗

  • By the 1950s, researchers were using placebos as a standard tool

    1950 年代之前,研究人員已用安慰劑

  • to test new treatments.

    作為試驗新治療的標準方法

  • To evaluate a new drug, for instance,

    例如,為評估新藥

  • half the patients in a trial might receive the real pill.

    實驗中的一半病人可能服用真藥

  • The other half would get a placebo that looked the same.

    另一半則服用外觀一樣的安慰劑

  • Since patients wouldn't know whether they'd received the real thing or a dud,

    既然病人都不知道服用的是真的或無用的

  • the results wouldn't be biased, researchers believed.

    研究人員認為結果將不帶偏見

  • Then, if the new drug showed a significant benefit compared to the placebo,

    如果相較於安慰劑, 新藥呈現有顯著的功效

  • it was proved effective.

    則証實它有效

  • Nowadays, it's less common to use placebos this way because of ethical concerns.

    現今已較少這樣使用安慰劑, 由於有道德上的疑慮

  • If it's possible to compare a new drug against an older version, or another existing drug,

    如果可能以新藥比較舊型的藥或另一現有的藥

  • that's preferable to simply giving someone no treatment at all,

    那會優於完全不給任何治療

  • especially if they have a serious ailment.

    尤其當他們有嚴重疾病時

  • In these cases, placebos are often used as a control to fine-tune the trial

    這些情況下,安慰劑常被作為微調實驗的控制項

  • so that the effects of the new versus the old or alternative drug can be precisely compared.

    讓新型、舊型或替代藥的效用可被精確地比較

  • But of course, we know the placebos exert their own influence, too.

    但當然, 我們知道安慰劑也發揮本身的作用

  • Thanks to the placebo effect,

    由於安慰劑效應

  • patients have experienced relief from a range of ailments,

    很多疾病的病人感覺症狀舒緩

  • including heart problems,

    包括心臟病

  • asthma,

    氣喘

  • and severe pain,

    及劇烈疼痛

  • even though all they'd received was a fake drug or sham surgery.

    即使他們所接受的完全是假藥或模擬手術而已

  • We're still trying to understand how.

    我們仍在嘗試理解這作用原理

  • Some believe that instead of being real,

    有些人認為那不是真正舒緩

  • the placebo effect is merely confused with other factors,

    安慰劑效應只不過和其他因素相混淆而已

  • like patients trying to please doctors by falsely reporting improvements.

    例如病人為取悅醫生而作症狀改善的不實敘述

  • On the other hand,

    反之

  • researchers think that if a person believes a fake treatment is real,

    研究人員認為若一個人相信假治療是真的

  • their expectations of recovery actually do trigger physiological factors

    他們期待康復的心理會真正激起一些生理因子

  • that improve their symptoms.

    從而改善了症狀

  • Placebos seem to be capable of causing measurable change in blood pressure, heart rate,

    安慰劑似乎對血壓、心跳速率

  • and the release of pain-reducing chemicals, like endorphins.

    及止痛化學物質的釋放── 例如內啡肽(endorphin)有明顯改變

  • That explains why subjects in pain studies often say placebos ease their discomfort.

    這說明疼痛實驗中,為何實驗對象常說安慰劑舒緩他們的不適

  • Placebos may even reduce levels of stress hormones,

    安慰劑甚至可降低壓力賀爾蒙的數值

  • like adrenaline,

    如腎上腺素

  • which can slow the harmful effects of an ailment.

    這可減緩疾病的有害影響

  • So shouldn't we celebrate the placebo's bizarre benefits?

    所以我們不該頌揚安慰劑的奇特效益嗎?

  • Not necessarily.

    未必

  • If somebody believes a fake treatment has cured them,

    如果有人認為假治療已治癒他們

  • they may miss out on drugs or therapies that are proven to work.

    他們可能錯過使用真正有效藥物或治療的時機

  • Plus, the positive effects may fade over time,

    另外,這正面效用可能隨時間逐漸消失

  • and often do.

    而且常常是如此

  • Placebos also cloud clinical results,

    安慰劑也會混淆臨床效果

  • making scientists even more motivated to discover

    讓科學家更有動機去發現

  • how they wield such power over us.

    它們是如何有這能力操控我們的

  • Despite everything we know about the human body,

    雖然我們知道有關人體的一切

  • there are still some strange and enduring mysteries,

    但仍有些奇怪的不解之謎

  • like the placebo effect.

    例如安慰劑效應

  • So what other undiscovered marvels might we contain?

    所以我們還有什麼其他未發現的奇蹟嗎?

  • It's easy to investigate the world around us

    我們很容易在研究周圍的世界時

  • and forget that one of its most fascinating subjects

    忘記最有趣的課題之一

  • lies right behind our eyes.

    就在我們的頭腦裡

In 1996, 56 volunteers took part in a study

1996 年時,56 位自願者參與一項研究

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B2 中高級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 安慰劑 治療 食指 效應 實驗

【TED-Ed】安慰劑效應的力量 (The power of the placebo effect - Emma Bryce)

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