Resonance, placebo effects, and type II errors: Some implications from healing research for experimental methods

William F. Bengston, Margaret Moga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Classical experimental design presupposes that subjects, randomly separated into experimental and control groups, are independent and distinct. Treatments given to the experimental group ought to have no effect on the control group, which functions as a baseline to illustrate "what otherwise would have hap-pened." Any change in the control group is often labeled an "anomaly." Examples of these types of anomalous phenomena can be found in placebo research, which often shows proportional unexpected and unexplained changes in control subjects. In four previously reported experiments on anomalous healing using "healing with intent" on mice injected with lethal doses of mammary adenocarcinoma (source, The Jackson Laboratories, Bar Harbor, ME; code, H2712; host strain, C3H/HeJ), a high percentage of both experimental and control mice exhibited an anomalous healing pattern, most often passing through stages of tumor ulceration to full life-span cure. Objective: In order to explain tumor regression of control animals, I posit the formation of "resonant bonds," which can link spatially separate groups. Healing given to the experimental animals can result in an unintended treatment to the control animals, producing anomalous healing akin to placebo effects. Materials and methods: A recently completed experiment at the Terre Haute campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine has produced a successful test of resonance theory. One group of mice (n = 30) was injected with mammary adenocarcinoma cells and randomly divided into a treated group (n = 15) and untreated control group (n = 15). A second group of age-matched controls (n = 25) was left uninjected. Mice from each group were intermittently sacrificed to measure hematologic values and spleen weight. Results: As predicted by resonance theory, there were few differences between treated and untreated animals from the first group, but there were significant differences between these animals and the age-matched controls. Conclusions: Some implications for placebo research and the way we normally conceptualize Type II errors will be discussed. Researchers are invited to reanalyze past data in light of resonance theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-327
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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