Placebo restores sight to a blind woman: Lynley Hood’s story

Linley Hood, an 80-year-old New Zealand woman, lost her sight more than a decade ago due to a rare form of glaucoma. Many doctors predicted that her vision would never return, and she would remain blind for life. However, in 2020, a true miracle happened – after treating her chronic pain with a placebo, her vision returned almost 100%.

The University of Otago’s chronic pain research project involved two groups of participants who wore a special helmet with attached electrodes. One group received full electrical stimulation of the brain, while the other group received placebo, only superficial stimulation at scalp level.

Lynley Hood was unknowingly in the placebo group, but after four weeks of electrical stimulation, she noticed that her vision began to improve. According to her ophthalmologist, it was a true miracle.

Dr. Divya Adhya, co-director of the project, said this was an unexpected result and that they don’t yet know exactly how the placebo returned Linley Hood’s vision. However, she and her team are preparing for another study to determine how electrical stimulation helped the 80-year-old woman and may help others in a similar situation.

Lynley Hood’s story is an example of how powerful the placebo effect is and how little we know about how our brains and bodies work. Some studies show that placebos can have real physiological effects on the body, not just psychological ones.

However, we should not forget that a placebo is not a universal cure and cannot replace a real treatment. In addition, placebos can have negative effects if a person has a serious illness that requires real treatment.

Nevertheless, Linley Hood’s story gives hope to those who suffer from various illnesses and see no way out. You never know what might happen, and maybe the placebo can be another tool in the fight for health.

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