First, only ideas that manage to get funding can be studied.

Next, research that does not turn out the way it’s “supposed” to does not have to be published.

And then, it is very easy to confuse the media, the public, and even other researchers, with fancy statistics.

In conclusion: Most research is never done, of what research is done a large percentage is never seen, of what research is done and seen a large percentage is intentionally or unintentionally deceptive.

Scientists are human, funding organizations consist of humans, humans are fallible creatures who like to get paid.

Comment from hardnose on NeuroLogica blog (

Kaptchuk’s team has investigated the neural mechanisms of placebos in collaboration with the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. In two fMRI studies published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2006 and 2008, they showed that placebo treatments affect the areas of the brain that modulate pain reception, as do negative side effects from placebo treatment—“nocebo effects.” (Nocebo is Latin for “I shall harm”; placebo means “I shall please.”) But nocebo effects also activate the hippocampus, a different area associated with memory and anxiety. As happened with Kaptchuk’s patients in the “pill versus needle” study, the headaches, nausea, insomnia, and fatigue that result from fake treatments can be painfully real, afflicting about a quarter of those assigned to placebo treatment in drug trials(see “The Nocebo Effect,” May-June 2005). “What we ‘placebo neuroscientists’…have learned [is] that therapeutic rituals move a lot of molecules in the patients’ brain, and these molecules are the very same as those activated by the drugs we give in routine clinical practice,” Benedetti wrote in an e-mail. “In other words, rituals and drugs use the very same biochemical pathways to influence the patient’s brain.” It’s those advances in “hard science,” he added, that have given placebo research a legitimacy it never enjoyed before.

Cara Feinberg, "The Placebo Phenomenon", Harvard Magazine Jan-Feb 2013


I want to believe.

Prehistoric paintings in a cave in India may indicate that alien travellers visited the site eons ago, an archaeologist says. The paintings depict what appear as humanoids with featureless faces and a tripod object that could be a vehicle. The peculiar find was discovered in a cave system under the Charama region in Kanker district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Preliminary dating says the pictures are at least 10,000 years old, reports the Times of India. Archaeologist JR Bhagat believes that the paintings can serve as evidence of the paleocontact hypothesis, which says that in prehistoric times Earth was visited by members of an advanced alien civilization. (Source #1, Source #2)

Someone call Mulder and Scully.