It is well known that a placebo, a fake medication ortreatment, can sometimes have a positive effect justbecause patients often expect the medication or treatmentto be helpful. The article Beware the NoceboEffect (New York Times, Aug. 12, 2012) gave examplesof a less familiar phenomenon, the tendency for patientsinformed of possible side effects to actually experiencethose side effects. The article cited a study reported inThe Journal of Sexual Medicine in which a group ofpatients diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia wasrandomly divided into two subgroups. One subgroup ofsize 55 received a compound of proven efficacy alongwith counseling that a potential side effect of the treatmentwas erectile dysfunction. The other subgroup ofsize 52 was given the same treatment without counseling.The percentage of the no-counseling subgroup thatreported one or more sexual side effects was 15.3%,whereas 43.6% of the counseling subgroup reported atleast one sexual side effect. State and test the appropriatehypotheses at significance level .05 to decide whether thenocebo effect is operating here. [Note: The estimatedexpected number of successes in the no-counselingsample is a bit shy of 10, but not by enough to be of greatconcern (some sources use a less conservative cutoff of5rather than 10).]

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