What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? - The New York Times


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FEATURE: What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? -==- New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
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6 days ago by jchris
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20 days ago by domingogallardo
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
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21 days ago by puja
New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
23 days ago by petulantskeptic
New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
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4 weeks ago by soobrosa
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
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6 weeks ago by ciocci
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7 weeks ago by wjbr
Kaptchuk, who before joining Harvard had been an acupuncturist in private practice, wasn’t particularly disturbed by the finding that his own profession worked even when needles were not actually inserted; he’d never thought that placebo treatments were fake medicine. He was more interested in how the strength of the treatment varied with the quality and quantity of interaction between the healer and the patient — the drama, in other words.

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It is not possible to assay levels of COMT directly in a living brain, but there is a snippet of the genome called rs4680 that governs the production of the enzyme, and that varies from one person to another: One variant predicts low levels of COMT, while another predicts high levels. When Hall analyzed the I.B.S. patients’ DNA, she found a distinct trend. Those with the high-COMT variant had the weakest placebo responses, and those with the opposite variant had the strongest. These effects were compounded by the amount of interaction each patient got: For instance, low-COMT, high-interaction patients fared best of all, but the low-COMT subjects who were placed in the no-treatment group did worse than the other genotypes in that group. They were, in other words, more sensitive to the impact of the relationship with the healer.
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7 weeks ago by ernie.bornheimer
"Like Franklin’s commission, the F.D.A. had determined that the only way to sort out the real from the fake in medicine was to isolate the imagination. It also echoed the royal panel by taking note of the placebo effect only long enough to dismiss it, giving it a strange dual nature: It’s included in clinical trials because it is recognized as an important part of every treatment, but it is treated as if it were not important in itself. As a result, although virtually every clinical trial is a study of the placebo effect, it remains underexplored — an outcome that reflects the fact that there is no money in sugar pills and thus no industry interest in the topic as anything other than a hurdle it needs to overcome."
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7 weeks ago by bankbryan
The findings of the I.B.S. study were in keeping with a hypothesis Kaptchuk had formed over the years: that the placebo effect is a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and focused it is, the more healing it evokes.

When Hall analyzed the I.B.S. patients’ DNA, she found a distinct trend. Those with the high-COMT variant had the weakest placebo responses, and those with the opposite variant had the strongest. These effects were compounded by the amount of interaction each patient got: For instance, low-COMT, high-interaction patients fared best of all, but the low-COMT subjects who were placed in the no-treatment group did worse than the other genotypes in that group. They were, in other words, more sensitive to the impact of the relationship with the healer.
medicine 
8 weeks ago by elrob
"Give people a sugar pill, they have shown, and those patients — especially if they have one of the chronic, stress-related conditions that register the strongest placebo effects and if the treatment is delivered by someone in whom they have confidence — will improve. Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air — even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.

But as ubiquitous as the phenomenon is, and as plentiful the studies that demonstrate it, the placebo effect has yet to become part of the doctor’s standard armamentarium — and not only because it has a reputation as “fake medicine” doled out by the unscrupulous to the credulous. It also has, so far, resisted a full understanding, its mechanisms shrouded in mystery. Without a clear knowledge of how it works, doctors can’t know when to deploy it, or how."
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8 weeks ago by jaypcross
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8 weeks ago by jesse_the_k
New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
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9 weeks ago by ree
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9 weeks ago by jburkunk
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9 weeks ago by cspathis
You don’t even have to deceive the patients. You can hand a patient with irritable bowel syndrome a sugar pill, identify it as such and tell her that sugar pills are known to be effective when used as placebos, and she will get better, especially if you take the time to deliver that message with warmth and close attention. Depression, back pain, chemotherapy-related malaise, migraine, post-traumatic stress disorder: The list of conditions that respond to placebos — as well as they do to drugs, with some patients — is long and growing.
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10 weeks ago by mattrud
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
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10 weeks ago by John-Dobbin
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10 weeks ago by mattl
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10 weeks ago by michimaurer
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10 weeks ago by timwburch
New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
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10 weeks ago by noiseguy
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10 weeks ago by Devje
in depth review of placebo effects and biological basis?
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10 weeks ago by ElliotPsyIT
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10 weeks ago by johnrclark
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10 weeks ago by nzeribe
Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t. You don’t even have to deceive the patients.
health  science 
10 weeks ago by carlesbellver
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10 weeks ago by granth
It is not possible to assay levels of COMT directly in a living brain, but there is a snippet of the genome called rs4680 that governs the production of the enzyme, and that varies from one person to another: One variant predicts low levels of COMT, while another predicts high levels. When Hall analyzed the I.B.S. patients’ DNA, she found a distinct trend. Those with the high-COMT variant had the weakest placebo responses, and those with the opposite variant had the strongest. These effects were compounded by the amount of interaction each patient got: For instance, low-COMT, high-interaction patients fared best of all, but the low-COMT subjects who were placed in the no-treatment group did worse than the other genotypes in that group. They were, in other words, more sensitive to the impact of the relationship with the healer.

The discovery of this genetic correlation to placebo response set Hall off on a continuing effort to identify the biochemical ensemble she calls the placebome — the term reflecting her belief that it will one day take its place among the other important “-omes” of medical science, from the genome to the microbiome. The rs4680 gene snippet is one of a group that governs the production of COMT, and COMT is one of a number of enzymes that determine levels of catecholamines, a group of brain chemicals that includes dopamine and epinephrine. (Low COMT tends to mean higher levels of dopamine, and vice versa.) Hall points out that the catecholamines are associated with stress, as well as with reward and good feeling, which bolsters the possibility that the placebome plays an important role in illness and health, especially in the chronic, stress-related conditions that are most susceptible to placebo effects.
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10 weeks ago by jm
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10 weeks ago by robw
It’s an urgent subject for them, and only in part because, like all apostate professionals, they crave mainstream acceptance. More important, they are motivated by a conviction that the placebo is a powerful medical treatment that is ignored by doctors only at their patients’ expense.

Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin.
health  placebo 
10 weeks ago by craniac
100g But as many of the talks at the conference indicated, this might be about to change. Aided by functional magnetic resonance imaging (f.M.R.I.) and other precise surveillance techniques, Kaptchuk and his colleagues have begun to elucidate an ensemble of biochemical processes that may finally account for how placebos work and why they are more effective for some people, and some disorders, than others. The molecules, in other words, appear to be emerging. And their emergence may reveal fundamental flaws in the way we understand the body’s healing mechanisms, and the way we evaluate whether more standard medical interventions in those processes work, or don’t. Long a useful foil for medical science, the placebo effect might soon represent a more fundamental challenge to it.
Teaching 
10 weeks ago by scritic
RT atmostbeautiful : 플라시보 효과. 속임수라 하기엔 치유 사례 많다. 주류 의학은 기대심리가 만드는 환각일 뿐이라며 배제. 최근엔 첨단기기로 효능을 생화학적으로 분석. 치유를 유전자-약-정신의 복합 작용으로 재조명. 의술의 과학화 과정에서 배제된 환자-의사 신뢰와 보살핌의 효능. 추천 http://bit.ly/2JRIydO November 08, 2018 at 09:32PM http://twitter.com/atmostbeautiful/status/1060510431242907650
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10 weeks ago by seoulrain
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10 weeks ago by WFreeland
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What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
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10 weeks ago by KlasO
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10 weeks ago by dshack
“Rituals trigger specific neurobiological pathways that specifically modulate bodily sensations, symptoms and emotions,” he wrote. “It seems that if the mind can be persuaded, the body can sometimes act accordingly.”
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10 weeks ago by thinkling
The findings of the I.B.S. study were in keeping with a hypothesis Kaptchuk had formed over the years: that the placebo effect is a biological response to an act of caring; that somehow the encounter itself calls forth healing and that the more intense and focused it is, the more healing it evokes.
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10 weeks ago by seaugust
Hypnosis: What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?
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10 weeks ago by MitchWagner
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10 weeks ago by archizoo
I knew it! Hand me more garlic cloves
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10 weeks ago by brunoboutot
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10 weeks ago by Palafo
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10 weeks ago by toph
Her findings take their place among other results from neuroscientists that strengthen the placebo’s claim to a place at the medical table, in particular studies using f.M.R.I. machines that have found consistent patterns of brain activation in placebo responders. “For years, we thought of the placebo effect as the work of imagination,” Hall says. “Now through imaging you can literally see the brain lighting up when you give someone a sugar pill.”
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