Adam Ruins Everything Episode 45: Dr. Kathryn Hall on the Surprising Power of Placebos


Placebos are commonly dismissed as "fake" treatments that have no real power on you or your body. But scientists are realizing more and more that placebos are more powerful than we realized. New research shows that while placebos may not cure diseases, they can reduce symptoms of our ailments like irritable bowel syndrome and even Parkinson's disease, and in the process actually make us feel better. Even traditional medicine takes advantage of the placebo effect, which could mean the placebo effect could play a significant role in treating diseases. On this episode we talk to Dr. Kathryn Hall, who appeared on Adam Ruins Spa Day, about how placebos can have such powerful effects on our brains and how placebos are changing the way we conduct science and treat patients. Kathryn is a molecular biologist and Director of Placebo Genetics at Harvard Medical School's Program in Placebo Studies.

Adam is on Twitter @AdamConover and you can find past episodes and bonus content from the TruTV show at

Produced by Shara Morris for