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Fake medicine can quiet a child's cough

Fake medicine can quiet a child's cough

Source: CBS News

Giving young children agave nectar or a placebo treatment of flavored, colored water both appear to help reduce cough symptoms at night more than not giving any treatment, according to a new study. "Many pediatricians suggest doing nothing for cough and cold symptoms other than maintaining hydration and perhaps giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen," said lead researcher Dr. Ian Paul, chief of the Division of Academic General Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa. "We have known for a long time that placebos can have a substantial therapeutic benefit over a wide range of conditions," said Dr. Douglas Opel, an assistant professor of pediatrics and of bioethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Opel is also the co-author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal. But this study raises questions about how the placebo has its effect in children and what doctors should do about it, he said.

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