On Wednesday, researchers reported that placebo is good in keeping patients feel better. This is true even if the patients know that they are taking sugar pills. The research was done to further understand the thing behind “placebo effect.”

More than 60 percent of patients with irritable bowel syndrome said that they felt better after taking placebo twice a day. This is compared to the 35 percent of patients who did not take any placebo capsules. The report was published in the Public Library of Science journal called PLoS ONE.

According to Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, they were able to find out that the pills did not contain any active ingredient and were made from inert substances. They simply placed “placebo” on the bottle. The two were the ones who led the study.

Ever since the start, there were already documentations and studies about the placebo effect. The placebo is known as a vital factor in research especially in new drugs and treatments. Generally, scientists were able to document that there were 30 percent to 40 percent of patients who felt better after unknowingly taking placebo pills.

However, it is said that giving placebo pills, while in fact it is just a sugar pill, as a part of medical treatment is considered unethical. Most of the time, people believe that placebo will not work once patients know that they are taking a placebo.

Kaptchuk and his team conducted a research in order to find out the truth behind it. They enrolled 80 patients, all with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. IBS is characterized by abdominal pain. The participants underwent a “mind-body” study and those given placebo pills were constantly reminded that they were giving inert pills. According to Anthony Lembo, an IBS expert who was also a part of the team, it felt awkward to ask patients to take placebo pills.