Long after research contradicts common medical practices, patients continue to demand them and physicians continue to deliver. The result is an epidemic of unnecessary and unhelpful treatments - David Epstein


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Placebo Effect of the Heart

A doctor stands over you and feeds a long wire up the inside of your body, from your groin into your heart. You are conscious and comfortable, if not necessarily calm.

For nearly half a century, cardiologists have been performing angioplasty, or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The point is to open up arteries that have become clogged and hardened by years of life—to reverse and improve the symptoms of heart disease. Today the procedure is done around a million times each year in the United States alone. In the span of 45 minutes or so, the looming cardiologist watches a screen as real-time X-ray images show the wire going up to the heart, traversing vessels to reach the…

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Last Updated : Thursday, February 21, 2019