Ted Jack Kaptchuk (born August 17, 1947) is an American medical researcher who holds professorships in medicine and in global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. He researches the placebo effect within the field of placebo studies.

Ted Kaptchuk in an NCCIH interview about the use of placebos in research

Early life and education edit

Kaptchuk was born in Brooklyn, New York;[1] his parents were both Polish Holocaust survivors.[2] He holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Columbia University, where he co-founded the university's chapter of Students for a Democratic Society,[2] and a degree in Traditional Chinese medicine from the Macao Institute of Chinese Medicine.[3]

Career edit

Kaptchuk had an herbal and acupuncture clinic in Boston for many years starting in 1976.[2] In the 1980s he was clinical director of the Pain Unit at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital.[3] In 1990, he became associate director of the Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, also in Boston.[2] In 2011, he became Director of the Harvard Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter at Beth Israel Deaconess.[2][4] Although he does not have a medical degree,[2] he has been a faculty member at Harvard Medical School since 1998, a professor of medicine since 2013, and professor of global health and social medicine since 2015.[3]

Working with Kathryn T. Hall and others Kaptchuk has led many studies of the placebo effect, including the role of genetic markers that identify people who people who respond best to placebos.[5] Some of this work suggests that placebos may still work despite disclosure that they are placebos.[6][7]

Kaptchuk has served on panels for the NIH and FDA, and worked as a medical writer for the BBC.[8] He has written more than 300 peer-reviewed publications (h-index=100, i-index=275).[9]

Kaptchuk has been awarded three Lifetime Achievement Awards including Society of Acupuncture in 2015, Society of Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies in 2021, and the William Silen Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring from Harvard Medical School in 2022.[10][11]

On October 10, 2023, an article, entitled "No Better Than Placebo", in The New York Times by Kaptchuk noted that some current medicines on store shelves were found to be "ineffective" (notwithstanding the "1962 Drug Efficacy Amendment" of the "Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act") based on studies and acted, if at all, as placebos. Kaptchuk concluded that "placebo effects can be significantly enhanced in the context of a supportive, respectful and attentive patient-relationship"[12] after recalling his earlier studies showing that "non-specific effects can produce statistically and clinically significant outcomes and the patient-practitioner relationship is the most robust component"[13] and "open label placebo could offer a possible supplementary intervention in some chronic conditions and an honest approach for a watch-and-wait strategy".[14]

Personal life edit

Kaptchuk is an observant Jew.[2]

Books edit

  • The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. ISBN 978-0-8092-2840-9
  • The Healing Arts: Exploring the Medical Ways of the World, Summit Books, 1987. ISBN 978-0-671-64506-9
  • Miller FG, Colloca L, Crouch RA, Kaptchuk TJ (eds). The Placebo: A Reader. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

References edit

  1. ^ Contemporary Authors New Revision Series: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide to Current Writers in Fiction, General Non-Fiction, Poetry, Journalism, Drama, Motion Pictures, Television, & Other Fields. Gale. 2003. p. 282. ISBN 9780787667146.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Michael Specter (December 12, 2011). "The Power of Nothing". The New Yorker.
  3. ^ a b c Ted J. Kaptchuk. "Biography". tedkaptchuk.com. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  4. ^ "Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School studies placebos". Harvard Magazine. January–February 2013.
  5. ^ Gary Greenberg (November 7, 2018). "What if the placebo effect isn't a trick?". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Alexandara Sifferlin (August 23, 2018). "People are taking placebo pills to deal with their health problems—and it's working". Time.
  7. ^ Brian Resnick (July 11, 2017). "A radical new hypothesis in medicine: give patients drugs they know don't work". Vox.
  8. ^ Kaptchuk TJ, Croucher M. The Healing Arts. London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1986.
  9. ^ https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=QPOPbngAAAAJ&hl=en
  10. ^ https://sips-conference.com/history/sips-conference-2021
  11. ^ https://dicp.hms.harvard.edu/awards-and-recognitions/excellence-mentoring-awards
  12. ^ Kaptchuk, Ted J. (October 10, 2023). "'No Better Than Placebo'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 10, 2023. Retrieved October 10, 2023.
  13. ^ Kaptchuk, Ted J; Kelley, John M; Conboy, Lisa A; Davis, Roger B; Kerr, Catherine E; Jacobson, Eric E; Kirsch, Irving; Schyner, Rosa N; Nam, Bong Hyun; Nguyen, Long T; Park, Min; Rivers, Andrea L; McManus, Claire; Kokkotou, Efi; Drossman, Douglas A; Goldman, Peter; Lembo, Anthony J (2008-05-03). "Components of placebo effect: randomised controlled trial in patients with irritable bowel syndrome". BMJ : British Medical Journal. 336 (7651): 999–1003. doi:10.1136/bmj.39524.439618.25. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 2364862. PMID 18390493.
  14. ^ Kaptchuk, Ted J; Miller, Franklin G (2018-10-01). "Open label placebo: can honestly prescribed placebos evoke meaningful therapeutic benefits?". The BMJ. 363: k3889. doi:10.1136/bmj.k3889. ISSN 0959-8138. PMC 6889847. PMID 30279235.

Selected publications edit

  1. All the world's a stage: including the doctor's office: National Public Radio's Hidden Brain. [1]
  2. Placebo: Can the mind cure you? https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/5whgzd/placebo-can-the-mind-cure-you

External links edit