Testing the strength of the placebo effect: new evidence

What is the strength of the placebo effect? Can our minds really trick our bodies to heal, or reduce pain? If so, then our minds are a far more powerful healing tool than we first thought. Here’s a story first reported by The New York Daily News.

Source: New York Daily News

Date: February 20th, 2010

“Popping a placebo may actually have a biological effect on the body after all.

Researchers are finding evidence that faux treatments may actually result in physical changes.

Popping a placebo may actually have a biological effect on the body after all.

Researchers are finding evidence that faux treatments may actually result in physical changes.

A review of placebo research appeared online Friday in Lancet, the British medical journal. Reviewing the research, international experts feel that the placebo effect may not just be all in the mind.

“It’s not that placebos or inert substances help,” British Psychological Society spokeswoman and psychologist Linda Blair told The Associated Press. “It’s that people’s belief in inert substances helps.”

Writing in the Lancet, researchers pointed to studies where Parkinson’s disease patients took dummy pills that caused their brains to release the feel-good chemical dopamine. Other changes in brain activity also took place.

“When you think you’re going to get a drug that helps, your brain reacts as if it’s getting relief,” Walter Brown, clinical professor of psychiatry at Brown University and Tufts University, told The Associated Press. “But we don’t know how that thought that you’re going to get better actually translates into something happening in the brain.”

A review of placebo research appeared online Friday in Lancet, the British medical journal…”