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Episode 51

First aired September 27, 2017

Is Placebo the future of medicine? How placebo works. 

Placebo is always criticised as chance effect. Dr. Ram Manohar, the research director at Amirta Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda, Amrita University unpicks the evidence showing how in fact placebo is more effective than active intervention in many situations. Dr. Manohar explains the role of seeing a physician, compassionate health service delivery, the setting where health services are delivered and the ritual of caring about one's health have far greater benefits on one's health than ignoring these factors as placebo. Dr. Manohar comments that when the entire medical research is built on muting the role of mind on bio-chemical changes in the body and medical education devoid of compassion for patients, we end up with a dysfunctional health care system. Dr. Manohar, without undermining scientific research and medical approaches, highlights the need to bring back 'health care with compassion' and 'true scientific research' based on the system of Ayurveda. 

About our Guest

Dr.Ram Manohar is an Indian physician of Ayurveda and heads the research department at Amrita Centre for Advanced Research in Ayurveda, Amrita University, Kerala, India. Amrita University is the largest private university in India and the foundr and chancellor Mata Amritanadamayi Devi is popularly known world wide as “Amma, the hugging saint”. Dr. Manohar has several research publications and was the principal investigator on the Indian side of the National Institutes of Health, USA sponsored research study to scientifically evaluate the efficacy of Ayurveda in rheumatoid arthritis. The outcomes of this study was published in Annals of Rheumatic Diseases and Journal of Clinical Rheumatology and won the prestigious Excellence in Integrative Medicine Research Award from the European Society of Integrative Medicine. This study was recommended as a blue print for future studies on complementary and alternative medicine by Dr. Edzard Ernst, a vehement critic of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Dr. Manohar is not only a researcher but a rare scholar of ancient Sanskrit classical texts on health. He interprets and debated the need for integrating the ancient Indian health care system of Ayurveda with conventional approaches to address today’s health challenges. Dr. Ram Manohar is an advocate for ‘Medicine with Compassion’ in training doctors, medical specialist and researchers.

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