Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Brain region central to placebo effect identified

July 19, 2007
Researchers have pinpointed a brain region central to the machinery of the placebo effect-the often controversial phenomenon in which a person's belief in the efficacy of a treatment such as a painkilling drug influences its effect.

The researchers said their findings with human subjects offer the potential of measuring the placebo effect and even modulating it for therapeutic purposes. They also said their findings could enable measurements of brain function that "would help determine dysfunctions in cerebral mechanisms that may impair recovery across a number of conditions."

Jon-Kar Zubieta and colleagues published their findings in the July 19, 2007, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Their studies concentrated on a brain area known as the nucleus accumbens (NAC), a region deep in the brain, known to play a role in expectation of reward. Earlier studies had hinted at involvement of the NAC in the placebo effect, but the nature of that role was unknown, said the researchers.

In their experiments, the researchers told volunteers that they were testing the effects of a new pain-killing drug and that the subjects might receive the drug or a placebo. However, in the experiments, the researchers gave only a placebo injection of a salt solution. The experiments involved asking the subjects to rate their expectation of the pain-killing effects of the "drug" and also the level of pain relief with or without the "drug" that they felt from a moderately painful injection of salt solution into their jaw muscle.

In one set of experiments, the researchers used a molecular tracer scanning technique known as Positron Emission Spectroscopy to measure release from the NAC of the neurotransmitter dopamine-a chemical trigger of the brain's reward response. They found that the greater subjects' anticipation of the pain-killing benefit of the placebo, the greater the dopamine release from the NAC. Also, subjects who reported greater relief from the placebo when they did experience pain showed greater NAC activity when they received the placebo before the pain.

In separate experiments, the researchers studied whether activation of subjects' NAC during reward processing correlated with the magnitude of their placebo effect. They told subjects to expect monetary rewards of different amounts, as their brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The researchers found that the people who showed greater activation of the NAC during this reward-expectation task also showed a greater anticipation of effectiveness of a placebo.

The researchers concluded that "These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that this system is involved in the encoding of the 'incentive value' of the placebo, possibly acting as a gate or permissive system for the formation of placebo effects."

They wrote that "The placebo effect then emerges as a resiliency mechanism with broad implications that, given its activation of specific circuits and mechanisms, can be both examined and modulated for therapeutic purposes."

Cell Press


Related Placebo Current Events and Placebo News Articles


Digoxin increases the risk of death in patients with heart problems
There is conflicting evidence about whether digoxin, a drug that has been used worldwide for centuries to treat heart disease, might contribute to an increase in deaths in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) or congestive heart failure (CHF).

Interferon-free therapy clears hepatitis C in 93 percent of patients in trial
A 12-week dose of an investigational three-drug hepatitis C combination cleared the virus in 93 percent of patients with liver cirrhosis who hadn't previously been treated, according to a study in the May 5, 2015, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Studies show effectiveness of combo treatment for HCV patients with, without cirrhosis
In two studies appearing in the May 5 issue of JAMA, patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 infection and with or without cirrhosis achieved high rates of sustained virologic response after 12 weeks of treatment with a combination of the direct-acting-antiviral drugs daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and beclabuvir.

Treatment reduces risk of recurrence of C. difficile infection
Among patients with Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) who recovered following standard treatment with the antibiotics metronidazole or vancomycin, oral administration of spores of a strain of C difficile that does not produce toxins colonized the gastrointestinal tract and significantly reduced CDI recurrence.

Loyola shows oral spores of harmless C. difficile prevents repeat infection
In what is a major step towards the prevention of recurring bouts of Clostridium difficile (Cdiff) infection, an international team led by Dale Gerding, MD, Hines Veterans Administration (VA) research physician and professor of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has shown that giving spores of non-toxic Cdiff by mouth is effective in stopping repeated bouts of Cdiff infection which occurs in 25-30 percent of patients who suffer an initial episode of diarrhea or colitis.

Strategy found for safely prescribing antidepressants to children and adolescents
A multidisciplinary team of Johns Hopkins researchers has developed two new strategies to treat depression in young people using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications.

Screening for bacteriuria in pregnant women: Benefit unclear
Due to a lack of suitable studies, no conclusions can be drawn on the patient-relevant benefit or harm of screening for asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) in pregnant women.

High-dose sodium nitrite with citric acid creams better than placebo for anogenital warts
A high-dose treatment of sodium nitrite, 6 percent, with citric acid, 9 percent, creams applied twice daily was more effective than placebo for treating the common sexually transmitted disease of anogenital warts, according to an article published online by JAMA Dermatology.

Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects
When consumers taste cheap wine and rate it highly because they believe it is expensive, is it because prejudice has blinded them to the actual taste, or has prejudice actually changed their brain function, causing them to experience the cheap wine in the same physical way as the expensive wine?

Effective sleep apnea treatment lowers diabetes risk
Using a simple device for eight hours a night to treat sleep apnea can help people with prediabetes improve their blood sugar levels and may reduce the risk of progressing to diabetes, according to a new study published online in the April 21, 2015, issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
More Placebo Current Events and Placebo News Articles

You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter

You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter
by Dr. Joe Dispenza (Author)


     Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery? The truth is that it happens more often than you might expect. In You Are the Placebo, Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, Dr. Joe tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness. Belief can be so strong that pharmaceutical companies use double- and triple-blind randomized studies to try to exclude the power of the mind over the body when evaluating new drugs.     Dr. Joe does more than simply explore the history and the physiology of the placebo...

Placebo

Placebo
by Howard O. Pittman (Author)


Webster's dictionary defines "placebo" as a "medication prescribed more for the mental relief of a patient than for the actual effect on his disorder, or something tending to sooth." The doctors tell us that if we know we are being treated with a placebo, it does not work. In our minds we must think that it is a real medication and has the strength or power to heal. If the patient believes this, then the treatment has been known to work wonders in many cases that otherwise could not have been treated. Placebo treatment is, in fact, nothing of substance, but in the mind of the patient it is real. In order for this kind of treatment to work, the doctor must convince the patient of the work of the medication. My friend, I declare unto you that this is exact "treatment" that most...

Placebo: A Jevin Banks Novel (The Jevin Banks Experience)

Placebo: A Jevin Banks Novel (The Jevin Banks Experience)
by Steven James (Author)


While covertly investigating a controversial neurological research program, exposé filmmaker Jevin Banks is drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy involving one of the world's largest pharmaceutical firms. After giving up his career as an escape artist and illusionist in the wake of his wife and sons' tragic death, Jevin is seeking not only answers about the questionable mind-to-mind communication program, but also answers to why his family suffered as they did.

Rooted in ground-breaking science and inspired by actual research, Placebo explores the far reaches of science, consciousness, and faith. Readers will love this taut, intelligent, and emotionally gripping new thriller from master storyteller Steven James.

Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease

Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease
by Fabrizio Benedetti (Author)


One of the most widespread words in medicine is placebo and placebo effect, although it is not always clear what it means exactly. Recent progress in biomedical research has allowed a better clarification of the placebo effect. We know that this is an active psychobiological phenomenon which takes place in the patient's brain and that is capable of influencing both the course of a disease and the response to a therapy.

Since publication of the first edition of this book in 2008, there has been an explosion of placebo research, and this new edition brings the topic fully up to date. Throughout, the book emphasizes that there are many placebo effects and critically reviews them in different medical conditions, such as neurological and psychiatric disorders, cardiovascular and...

You Are the Placebo Meditation 1: Changing Two Beliefs and Perceptions

You Are the Placebo Meditation 1: Changing Two Beliefs and Perceptions
by Dr. Joe Dispenza (Author)


     Dr. Joe Dispenza has created two meditation CDs—featuring different music—to accompany his book You Are the Placebo.     On this longer 56-minutedisc, Dr. Joe walks you through Meditation 1: Changing Two Beliefs and Perceptions. After introducing the open-focus technique, he then moves you into the practice of finding the present moment. When you discover the sweet spot of the present moment and you forget about yourself as the personality you have always been, you have access to other possibilities that already exist in the quantum field. That’s because you are no longer connected to the same body-mind, to the same identification with the environment, and to the same predictable timeline. In the present moment, the familiar past and the future literally no longer...

You Are the Placebo Meditation 2: Changing One Belief and Perception

You Are the Placebo Meditation 2: Changing One Belief and Perception
by Dr. Joe Dispenza (Author)


     Dr. Joe Dispenza has created two meditation CDs—featuring different music—to accompany his book You Are the Placebo.     On this shorter 48-minutedisc, Dr.Joe walks you through Meditation 2: Changing One Belief and Perception. After introducing the open-focus technique, he then moves you into the practice of finding the present moment. When you discover the sweet spot of the present moment and you forget about yourself as the personality you have always been, you have access to other possibilities that already exist in the quantum field. That’s because you are no longer connected to the same body-mind, to the same identification with the environment, and to the same predictable timeline. In the present moment, the familiar past and the future literally no longer exist,...

The Placebo: A Reader

The Placebo: A Reader
by Franklin G. Miller (Editor), Luana Colloca (Editor), Robert A. Crouch (Editor), Ted J. Kaptchuk (Editor)


The placebo effect is a fascinating but elusive phenomena. Although no standard definition of the placebo effect exists, it is generally understood as consisting of responses of individuals to the psychosocial context of medical treatments or clinical encounters, as distinct from specific physiological effects of medical interventions. The Placebo is the first book to compile a selection of classic and contemporary published articles on the topic. Systematic investigation of the placebo effect emerged in the 1950s in response to the development of randomized controlled clinical trials that used "inert" placebo interventions as a pivotal element of scientific evaluation of novel drugs. In recent years, scientific and scholarly investigation of the placebo effect has increased...

Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease

Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease
by Fabrizio Benedetti (Author)


The placebo effect is one of the most widely used and familiar terms within science and medicine, yet it is not always clear just what we mean by a placebo effect.Though we might describe a placebo effect as being 'all in the mind', we now know that there is a genuine neurobiological basis to this phenomenon.
In recent years our knowledge of the neural bases of the placebo effect has developed markedly, and we now have a far better understanding of how it can influence both the course of a disease and the response to therapy. This is the first book to critically review the mechanisms of placebo and placebo-related effects across all medical conditions, diseases, and therapeutic interventions. It describes the main psychological and biological mechanisms of placebo responsiveness...

Placebo: What is the Church's Dope?

Placebo: What is the Church's Dope?


Webster’s dictionary defines “placebo” as a “medication prescribed more for the mental relief of a patient than for the actual effect on his disorder, or something tending to sooth.” The doctors tell us that if we know we are being treated with a placebo, it does not work. In our minds we must think that it is a real medication and has the strength or power to heal. If the patient believes this, then the treatment has been known to work wonders in many cases that otherwise could not have been treated. Placebo treatment is, in fact, nothing of substance, but in the mind of the patient it is real. In order for this kind of treatment to work, the doctor must convince the patient of the work of the medication.

My friend, I declare unto you that this is exact...

The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body's Inner Pharmacy for Better Health

The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body's Inner Pharmacy for Better Health
by Howard Brody (Author), Daralyn Brody (Author)


From a distinguished physician and medical ethicist, here is the definitive scientific investigation of the mysterious mind-body healing process. Did you know that:You'll heal faster after surgery if you see trees and grass outside your window than if you're looking at a brick wall.After asthmatic children were given vanilla aroma to use with their inhalers, their asthma eventually improved in response to the vanilla alone, even when the inhalers contained no active drug.Some patients who had sham angina surgery performed in a double-blind experiment showed improvements lasting six months or more, which their physicians could not distinguish from the results in patients who had had the real surgery.When people watched a movie showing Mother Teresa taking care of the poor in Calcutta,...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com