Research clearly indicates that fake therapies can trigger the body to heal itself. In acupuncture studies, sham needling often has very high efficacy, some times higher than needling the proper points, and sometimes similar or higher efficacy than traditional medicine. It does this with far less side-effects. If it works better with less harm, it should be used - even if we don't understand it.
Medicine is a practice. There are many things modern medicine does not understand. Physicians often follow a treatment path without understanding the underlying mechanisms of the disease (e.g. autoimmune disorders) or treat to simply alleviate symptoms. Someday we may have the body figured out but that day is a not today.
The Placebo effect is probably one of the more powerful tools available.
From the NY Times:
In the study, published in the May 4 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, German researchers divided 302 migraine sufferers into three groups. The patients were told that one group would receive acupuncture "similar to the acupuncture treatment used in China," and that the second would receive a type of acupuncture that did not follow the Chinese principles but "has been associated with positive outcomes in clinical studies."
The patients did not know which group they were assigned to. A third group was put on a waiting list and received treatment later.
Although the patients in the second group were unaware of it, they received a faked version of acupuncture.
The treatments went on for 12 weeks, and success was defined as having 50 percent fewer days with headaches in the weeks after the end of treatment.
By this measure, real acupuncture succeeded with 51 percent of the patients, and the sham procedure succeeded with 53 percent, a statistically insignificant difference. Only 15 percent of the waiting list group attained the 50 percent reduction in headache days.
The effectiveness of both the sham and the real acupuncture, the authors write, is about the same as treatment with drugs and has fewer side effects. The results, they conclude, "may be due to nonspecific physiological effects of needling, to a powerful placebo effect, or to a combination of both."
This thread has lots of speculation about the people running xp but none hit the mark in my case. Two of three machines in current use here run XP, and there is a fourth machine running Windows 98. Generally, the operating system choice comes down to software.
One XP machine is used for 2 hours of accounting work (quickbooks) a month. It also keeps an operating instance of various software that was used for various projects in the past. The unit is too old (12 year old P4 box) to upgrade to Windows 7/8 and upgrading to a different operating system would break lots of installed software. Most of the software on this machine could be reinstalled but I would have to find the disks (yes disks in some cases), reinstall and remember any custom configurations. A lot of work for what might otherwise be a 30 minute job. Much easier to keep an operating instance for the odd occasion ( once every 3-4 years) requiring Microsoft Fortran. This machines XP will be updated to the last day and then disconnected from the web. The Windows 98 machine has a similar reason from existing.
The other XP machine will be upgraded to windows 7 soon. This is later than planned but the pieces are in place and the license came with the machine. It was my main machine until I purchased a new laptop with Windows 7 and transitioned to it. Now it's just a backup and when there is a break it will be upgraded. It will not be online or actively used until it is upgraded.
So that is the story of 2 instances. Hard to put us all in the same box.
Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.