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Video: Placebo Brain Region Found
Placebo brain region found
All participants in this study suffered from chronic osteoarthritis.
Photo: Google Images /
Not so long ago, one study showed that a placebo works even when patients know they are taking a pacifier. True, this does not apply to any disease, but only to those conditions in which patients independently assess their feelings - for example, with headache or back pain.
Now - a new study. Scientists at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine said they found an area in the brain that is responsible for the placebo effect.
The researchers examined 56 participants in the study (all of them suffering from chronic osteoarthritis) using functional MRI, which helped to reveal what is the activity of different parts of the brain at rest. The authors then conducted two experiments. The first was attended by 17 people who were prescribed a placebo for pain relief - none of their patients knew about it. 8 people reported relief of pain. The researchers compared the results of the second fMRI scan with the data from the examination of patients at rest: they concluded that the region of the right middle frontal gyrus was responsible for the placebo response.
In the second part of the study, 39 patients took part. They were divided into two groups: one was given a placebo and the other was given a pain reliever. The authors studied the activity of the "placebo area" of the brain. They found that in some cases, the drug weakened the body's response to the placebo, while in others it increased it.
The authors are confident that they were able to fairly accurately determine which area of the brain is responsible for the response to placebo. In addition, they showed that different patients respond to placebo to varying degrees, and also demonstrated that placebo response can be controlled. These findings are likely to help improve chronic pain management.
Source: Scientists find 'placebo area' in brain
With the help of a new type of MRI, scientists claim to have identified a region within the brain that responds to a placebo.