Trial Participants Have ‘Positive’ Attitude Toward Scientific Studies Despite Deception, Small Study Shows

Trial Participants Have ‘Positive’ Attitude Toward Scientific Studies Despite Deception, Small Study Shows
Clinical trial participants who were deliberately misled for the purpose of scientific inquiry still held a positive attitude toward the process after being debriefed, results from a small study in fibromyalgia patients and healthy people show. Participants found the debriefing process — which explained how and why they were misled — to be helpful and worthwhile, and thus remain positive about taking part in future placebo-controlled clinical trials. The study titled, “Attitudes and Perceptions Toward Authorized Deception: A Pilot Comparison of Healthy Controls and Fibromyalgia Patients,” was published in the journal Pain Medicine. Clinical trials designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a new treatment generally include an experimental group, which receives the therapy being tested, and a control group, which gets a placebo. However, the participants in these studies usually are "blinded," meaning they are not informed as to whether they are receiving the experimental therapy or the placebo. Recent studies have shown positive outcomes from open-label placebo treatments, in which patients are informed that they are receiving placebo instead of being deceived. However, deception in placebo studies is still widely used, and has led to many important findings. "When the entirety of a study is not truthfully disclosed, the potential participant lacks information that may affect their decision about participating in the research study, which negates the process of making informed decisions," the researchers said. However, "[u]ntil
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