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Placebos, Nocebos and Voodoo Medicine, An Illustrated Lecture with Mark W Green MD, FAAN Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Rehabilitation Medicine
Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn, NY
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Placebos, Nocebos and Voodoo Medicine, An Illustrated Lecture with Mark W Green MD, FAAN Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Rehabilitation Medicine
Date: Wednesday, July 22nd
Time: 8pm
Admission: $8
Location: Morbid Anatomy Museum, 424 Third Avenue, 11215 Brooklyn

Many think of placebo as an inactive substance used in clinical trials or to fool someone, but placebo means far more than that, as the neurobiology of placebos is becoming increasingly understood. The opposite can also be true: harm can also come from the use of inactive substances, known as "nocebos."

One example of a "nocebo" is what is termed Voodoo death, aka "psychogenic death" or "psychosomatic death." This is a term coined by biological psychologist Walter Cannon to describe the observed phenomenon of individuals who died after believing themselves to be cursed, or being condemned by witch doctors or tribal courts. One such well documented case, recorded by Cannon in 1942, involved a Maori woman who, after learning that a fruit she had eaten had been sourced from a taboo location, died within a day.

Tonight, join Dr. Mark W Green Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Rehabilitation Medicine at Mt Sinai to learn about the fascinating history and science of the placebo, the nocebo, and "voodoo death."

Dr. Mark W. Green is the Director of Headache and Pain Medicine and Professor of Neurology, Anesthesiology, and Rehabilitation Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  He came to Mt. Sinai from Columbia University in 2009, where he was Director of Headache Medicine and Clinical Professor of Neurology (in Neurology, Anesthesiology and Dentistry) at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the College of Dental Medicine.  He is certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, were he is a fellow, and in Headache Medicine through the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.

The has been a panel member for the FDA's section on Peripheral and Central Nervous Drugs, evaluating clinical trials.

Image: Advertising panel portraying a pregnant female figure with the child, uterus and vagina labelled. Salvaged in August 2010, the six panels formed the walls of the shack of a vodoo (voodoo, vodou, vodun) practitioner in the town of Adjarra. The town is about one hour's drive from Porto Novo, the capital city of Benin, on a mud road towards the Nigerian border. The population attends a flourishing vodoo market where medical practitioners have dried animal parts, carved statuettes and other fetishistic items available for medicinal purposes. The paintings advertise the diseases and parts of the body which the practitioner claims to cure through sorcery and animal sacrifices that call upon the spirit world. Via Wellcome Images.

The Morbid Anatomy Museum is a non-profit institution. We survive on your donations. If you like what we do and want to support us, please consider making a donation along with your ticket price!


Morbid Anatomy Museum (View)
424 A Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
United States




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