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# A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more f

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A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more f [#permalink]  09 Mar 2019, 10:50
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A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more for the mental relief of a patient than for its effect on the patient's physical disorder. It is prescribed in the hope of instilling in the patient a positive attitude toward prospects for his or her recovery. In some cases, the placebo actually produces improvement in the patient's condition. In discussing the use and effect of placebos, a well-known medical researcher recently paid physicians the somewhat offbeat compliment of saying that physicians were the ultimate placebo.

By comparing a physician to a placebo, the researcher sought to imply that

(A) physicians should always maintain and communicate an optimistic attitude toward their patients, regardless of the prognosis
(B) the health of some patients can improve simply from their knowledge that they are under a physician's care
(C) many patients actually suffer from imagined illnesses that are best treated by placebos
(D) physicians could prescribe less medication and achieve the same effect
(E) it is difficult to determine what, if any, effect a physician's behavior has on a patient's condition
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more f [#permalink]  18 Mar 2019, 07:31
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This is one of those frustratingly subjective questions where you have to discern the intentions behind the researcher's statement. However, as in all of these seemingly subjective questions, there is a clear right answer.

Remember that the researcher gave a "somewhat offbeat compliment" by comparing physicians to placebos. The researcher is stating that even if the physician doesn't actually do anything to help a patient's physical condition, they might still improve, thinking that physicians can cure anything and are never wrong!

(A) This might be true if the doctor wanted to be a good placebo, but was not the intention of the researcher's comment. The comment was a compliment, a statement, not a proscription about what physicians should do.

(B) Boom, the perfect answer. If physicians are like placebos, then a patient can improve just by knowing they're being cared for by a professional, no matter what the physician actually does.

(C) This might be true, but it is not a compliment of any sort.

(D) Again, this might be a true implication of the researcher's comment, but it is not the general intention. Choice B explains the reasoning behind why this choice might be true, and is thus a much much better answer.

(E) Like C, this is is no possible way a compliment.
Re: A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more f   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2019, 07:31
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# A placebo is a chemically inert substance prescribed more f

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