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January 16, 1960


Author Affiliations

Department of Neurology Cincinnati General Hospital Cincinnati 29, Ohio.

JAMA. 1960;172(3):268. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020030062023

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To the Editor:—  My comment to Dr. Haffke's letter is as follows. Any physician of experience can cite an example of unexplained relief of a symptom by one or another drug or method. The "placebo effect," as it has been termed, must have been the usual means of relief of many and various symptoms prior to the introduction of specifics into medicine. There is reasonably general agreement, among those who have had much experience with cluster headache, that substances other than ergot preparations will not relieve the symptom by more than the percentage attributable to this "placebo effect," which investigators have determined to be as high as 40% (Batterman: Yale J. Biol. & Med.18:595 [July] 1946; Beecher: Pharmacol. Rev.9:59 [March] 1957; Wolf and Pinsky: J. A. M. A.155:339 [May 22] 1954). Cure of any of the many varieties of migraine is another matter.

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