Tag Archives | Placebo


Antidepressant use primes brain for placebo effect

Putting a twist in a run-of-the-mill medication-versus-placebo trial has revealed that prior treatment with antidepressants appears to prime the brain to exhibit a much stronger response to a placebo. The new study, by UCLA researchers, suggests that how the brain responds to antidepressant medication may be influenced by its remembering of past antidepressant exposure. Aimee […]

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High incidence of placebo use in psychiatry

Doctors may not like talking about it, but it’s becoming much more prevalent. A recent McGill University survey found that around 20 percent of general physicians have prescribed placebos for their patients, while more than one-third of psychiatrists have prescribed placebos or pseudoplacebos. Psychiatry professor and study author, Amir Raz, said the prescribing of pseudoplacebos […]

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Uh-oh, placebo

Modern medicine is based on what is considered the strongest possible evidence: the placebo-controlled trial. But placebos vary widely in their formulation and a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine calls into question the lack of any kind of standard in placebo formulation and also the appropriateness of drug companies providing their own […]

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Do antidepressant meds work through personality change?

New evidence suggests that popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medications can substantially change patients’ personalities, and researchers speculate that it is these changes in personality – rather than the supposed alleviation of depressive symptoms – that are responsible for improvements in mood. The research, conducted by psychologists from the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern […]

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Genetics linked to placebo response

Placebos – sugar pills designed to represent “no treatment” in a clinical treatment study – work nearly as well as the actual medication for some people. Why this should be so remains a mystery, but researchers at UCLA believe they have found a possible explanation: genetics. Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a UCLA professor of psychiatry, and […]

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Expensive Placebo Works Better Than Cheap One

A 10-cent pill doesn’t kill pain as well as a $2.50 pill, even when they are identical placebos, according to a new study from Duke University. The researchers used a standard protocol for administering light electric shock to participants’ wrists to measure their subjective rating of pain. The 82 study subjects were tested before getting […]

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Ritual A Critical Element Of Placebo Effect

The nature of the so-called placebo effect continues to tantalize scientists as an increasing number of lab experiments are detecting robust physiological responses to placebos. And just to add fuel to the fire, a new study, published in the British Medical Journal, takes placebo investigations one step further by comparing the effects from two different […]

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Placebo Effect Produces Real Painkillers

A study from the University of Michigan (U-M) has provided the first direct evidence that endorphins – the brain’s own pain-fighting chemicals – do play a role in the phenomenon known as the placebo effect. It appears that just thinking that a medicine will relieve pain is enough to prompt the brain to release these […]

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Cough Medicines No Better Than Placebo

Two active ingredients found in a number of non-prescription cough medicines are no better than non-medicated syrup for children with upper respiratory tract infections, says a Penn State College of Medicine study. “Consumers spend billions of dollars each year on over-the-counter medications for cough,” said Ian Paul, of the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical […]

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