In recent weeks, we've reported here on new studies from Australia and New Zealand that strongly suggest ailments attributed to wind turbine sound are actually caused by the "nocebo" (similar to placebo) effect, in which individuals who are led to expect physical symptoms experience those symptoms, whether or not the supposed cause of the symptoms is actually present.
This week's news stories have included two related items, one illuminating and the other less so.
First, the New Yorker blog has an excellent discussion of nocebo, titled "The Nocebo Effect: How We Worry Ourselves Sick," that mentions wind turbine sound only briefly and focuses instead on other activities that have resulted in similar concerns, such as wireless communications. It notes, for example, "After the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo sarin nerve-gas attack in Tokyo ... hospitals were flooded with patients suffering from the highly publicized potential symptoms, like nausea and dizziness, but who had not, it turned out, been exposed to the sarin. This is common in disasters where the agent is invisible, as with chemicals or radiation."