Sunday, March 01, 2015

Nocebo effect and smart meters

Nocebo effect and smart meters

I asked:

Hello Dr Lamech
What do you answer to those who claim smart meter symptoms are due to the nocebo effect (fear of harm)?
What % of people who reacted didn’t know the meter was changed or ignored the
potential health risks?
Thanks very much and best regards
Andre Fauteux, Editor
La Maison du 21e siècle magazine
2955 Domaine-lac-Lucerne 
Ste-Adèle (Qc)  Canada J8B 3K9

From: Federica Lamech <>
Object: nocebo effect
Date: March 1 2015 19:16:34 UTC−5

Hello Mr Fauteux,
in my opinion smart meter symptoms are not a nocebo effect.
Only 8% of cases claimed to be electrosensitive prior to smart meter exposure, which means that the rest were not likely to have any reason to suspect that smart meters were going to make them sick. A few cases described finding out that they had had a smart meter installed AFTER they had developed symptoms and the majority were not aware of what a smart meter even was (including that it is a wireless device), as the public here in Victoria were simply not informed. 
In my experience as a medical practitioner, ascribing symptoms to 'nocebo' effect is a lazy and dangerous practice, that can in some cases lead to tragic outcomes (eg. chest pain being blamed on stress and the patient subsequently goes on to die of a heart attack, as the ECG can be normal in the early stages of ischaemia).
It is also not appropriate to declare a nocebo effect as the cause of symptoms in people whose medical history we do not know and that we have not examined and properly assessed. This is especially the case as the number of people claiming same or similar symptoms from smart meter exposure is too high, it crosses geographical, cultural and age boundaries. 
5 of the cases in my report were children, which makes the likelihood of nocebo effect miniscule.

It would be interesting to pose that same question to those who claim that this is a 'nocebo' effect. On what grounds can they make such a statement? Are they using an evidence based approach? What are their motivations for dismissing people's symptoms reporting? Do they understand the risk such a dismissive attitude may have? Do they care? If they are in a position of authority, do they accept that it is not consistent with their 'duty of care'?

Federica Lamech

My article about Dr Lamech’s study, the world’s first on smart meter health complaints published in a peer-reviewd journal:
 Altern Ther Health Med. 2014 Nov-Dec;20(6):28-39.

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