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October 25, 1965

A Historical Note on Placebo Effects in Vomiting of Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Paris, France

JAMA. 1965;194(4):473. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090170151040

To the Editor:—  In recent years there have been numerous studies of placebo effects (double: and tripleblind tests, etc) but it is interesting to draw attention to some cases of "spontaneous" placebo effects which are to be found in the history of the vomiting of pregnancy and its treatment.The history of therapy for vomiting is a long story. All kinds of treatments have been tried, from écrevisse à la bordelaise to electric shock, through the whole pharmacopeia, the best vineyards in France, and the various gastronomic specialties. Among these treatments, some have been quite famous. On June 9, 1874, an English doctor, Copeman, who was then president of the British Medical Association and an authority on obstetrics, was called into consultation by a colleague in the case of a pregnant woman, 35 years of age, afflicted with intractable vomiting. The state of this woman was such that it was