Does taking glucosamine and chondroitin, the nutritional supplement, treat symptoms of arthritis? NBC's Robert Bazell told us that the answer is no--and yes. In clinical trials, the supplement offers no therapeutic benefit. However, taking a pill in the belief that it possesses healing powers that do not exist has been proven to be an effective therapy. Bazell went to Boston to inquire into the Placebo Effect. Harvard University's Dr Ted Kaptchuk suggested the practical question: "How do you enlist people's ability to do things to help themselves?" Boston University's Dr David Felson called placebos "not a scientifically valid approach but a clinically helpful approach." Bazell concluded that, besides the cost, $20 or so a month, "the supplements do no harm."
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