The Placebo Effect : A Molecular Account with Dr Ash Ranpura

Imagine a therapy that made use of the body's own biology to specifically and selectively attack disease, with no side effects and at minimal cost. ..


This therapy could serve as an anesthetic, like morphine, but without drowsiness or addiction; that could repair a worn-out knee without surgery; that could lower blood pressure and reverse heart disease without daily pills. It would be the most powerful tool in medicine, and it turns out we've had it all along. It's called the placebo effect. But for over a century we've failed to appreciate the extraordinary things it can do.

In the last five years a group of researchers across the globe have made massive strides in understanding the biology of the placebo effect, at a specific cellular and molecular level. Their work represents a fundamental change in the way doctors see the mind-body relationship. The word "placebo," with its implications of quackery and naivety, is out-of-date: these scientists are using highly refined techniques, in carefully controlled trials, to achieve outcomes as good or better than cutting-edge targeted drug therapy and surgery.

Join Dr. Ash Ranpura, a clinical neurologist and cognitive neuroscientist and presenter of the BBC Radio 4 documentary "The Placebo Paradox." Dr. Ranpura's vision is a revolutionary one that may force scientists to reconsider the way drugs are licensed in clinical trials, and the way each of us interacts with health care.


Dr Ash Ranpura

Dr Ash Ranpura is a neuroscientist and clinical neurologist who has been active in brain research for over 25 years.

Ash's wonderful, witty and enlightening explanations of what is really going on in our brains have been smash hits at Ebenezer Presents; we’ve had “The Neurochemistry of Love” and “Nightmares: A Neuro-scientist’s Guide”.

He received his bachelor's degree from Yale University, his M.D. from the Medical College of Ohio, carried out his Ph.D. research at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Queen Square, London, and completed his residency in clinical neurology at the Yale-New Haven Hospital. He is a sought-after public speaker, addressing audiences ranging from the American Medical Association to the British Army, and has been a writer and a host on radio programmes including National Public Radio's "Science Friday" and Audible's "Wellness 101" series. He lives in Somerset with his wife, the novelist Susan Elderkin, and their son.

2019Martin Keeley