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


Benefits of vitamin B12 supplements for older people questioned
Vitamin B12 supplements offer no benefits for neurological or cognitive function in older people with moderate vitamin B12 deficiency, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

How cortisol reinforces traumatic memories
The stress hormone cortisol strengthens memories of scary experiences. However, it is effective not only while the memory is being formed for the first time, but also later when people look back at an experience while the memory reconsolidates.

Treatment reduces symptoms in syndrome that causes extreme light sensitivity
A novel synthetic hormone that makes certain skin cells produce more melanin significantly increases pain-free sun exposure in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria, a rare, genetic disorder resulting in excruciating pain within minutes of sun exposure.

Pinaverium shows promising results for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome
Pinaverium offers quick and effective relief of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, according to clinical trial results published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association.

New study supports safety and efficacy of Evekeo for treating children with ADHD
The amphetamine-based drug Evekeo, given once or twice daily to children 6-12 years of age, is effective in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and improving performance in a laboratory classroom setting.

Cranberry juice may help protect against heart disease and diabetes risk factors
A new study reveals that drinking low-calorie cranberry juice cocktail may help lower the risk of chronic diseases that rank among the leading causes of death worldwide, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

New study: Tart cherry juice reduced post-race respiratory tract symptoms after a marathon
While previous research suggests tart cherry juice may help aid muscle recovery after extensive exercise, a new pilot study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Montmorency tart cherry juice reduced upper respiratory tract symptoms associated with marathon running in study participants.

University of Iowa studies impact of marijuana on driving
A new study conducted at the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator has found drivers who use alcohol and marijuana together weave more on a virtual roadway than drivers who use either substance independently.

Getting children to embrace healthy food
If the packaging has an appealing design, primary school children also reach for healthy foods. This was revealed in a study in cooperation with the Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund under the direction of scientists from the University of Bonn.

Nanoparticle 'wrapper' delivers chemical that stops fatty buildup in rodent arteries
In what may be a major leap forward in the quest for new treatments of the most common form of cardiovascular disease, scientists at Johns Hopkins report they have found a way to halt and reverse the progression of atherosclerosis in rodents by loading microscopic nanoparticles with a chemical that restores the animals' ability to properly handle cholesterol.
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: A Jevin Banks Novel (The Jevin Banks Experience) (Volume 1)

Placebo: A Jevin Banks Novel (The Jevin Banks Experience) (Volume 1)
by Steven James (Author)


Bestselling author launches a new series introducing a documentary filmmaker who stumbles upon the sinister conspiracies behind the headlines and finds his own life at risk.

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 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...

Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One

Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
by Dr. Joe Dispenza (Author)


     You are not doomed by your genes and hardwired to be a certain way for the rest of your life. A new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, renowned author, speaker, researcher, and chiropractor Dr. Joe Dispenza combines the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics to show you what is truly possible.     Not only will you be given the necessary knowledge to change any aspect of yourself, but you will be taught the step-by-step tools to apply what you learn in order to make measurable changes in any area of your life. Dr. Joe demystifies ancient understandings and bridges the gap between science and spirituality. Through his powerful workshops and...

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,...

Placebo: Mind over Matter in Modern Medicine

Placebo: Mind over Matter in Modern Medicine
by Dylan Evans (Author)


Can we really cure ourselves of disease by the power of thought alone? Faith healers and alternative therapists are convinced that we can, but what does science say?

Contrary to public perception, orthodox medical opinion is remarkably confident about the healing powers of the mind. For the past fifty years, doctors have been taught that placebos such as sugar pills and water injections can relieve virtually any kind of medical condition. Yet placebos only work if you believe they work, so the medical confidence in the power of the placebo effect has provided scientific legitimacy to popular claims about the healing power of the mind.

In this intriguing exploration, Dylan Evans exposes the flaws in the scientific research into the placebo effect and reveals the limits...

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 Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration

The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
by Anne Harrington (Author)


A mere "symbol" of medicine--the sugar pill, saline injection, doctor in a white lab coat--the placebo nonetheless sometimes produces "real" results. Medical science has largely managed its discomfort with this phenomenon by discounting the placebo effect, subtracting it as an impurity in its data through double-blind tests of new treatments and drugs. This book is committed to a different perspective--namely, that the placebo effect is a "real" entity in its own right, one that has much to teach us about how symbols, settings, and human relationships literally get under our skin. Anne Harrington's introduction and a historical overview by Elaine Shapiro and the late Arthur Shapiro, which open the book, review the place of placebos in the history of medicine, investigate the current...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com