Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~

Looking for a better life?

Our online, interactive video workshops present the most effective methods of holistic personal development, combined with personal support from expert life coaches.

Explore Article Library


Placebo Effect Is Not Just Psychological

By Rita Jenkins

Patients who believe in the effectiveness of their pain medication will experience greater pain relief, finds a University of Michigan study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Just thinking that a medicine will relieve pain is enough to prompt the brain to release its own natural painkillers, results indicate.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, provides the first concrete evidence that endorphins, the brain's own pain-fighting chemicals, play a direct role in the phenomenon known as the "placebo effect."

Endorphins behave similarly to opiate drugs, such as heroin and morphine. They bind to receptors and stop the transmission of pain signals along the nerve pathways. Previous studies have shown that the brain responds physically during the placebo effect, but the new study is the first to pinpoint a specific mechanism that triggers the brain's physical response.

"This deals another serious blow to the idea that the placebo effect is a purely psychological, not physical, phenomenon," says lead author Jon-Kar Zubieta, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and radiology at the U-M Medical School and associate research scientist at the Molecular and Behavioral Neurosciences Institute.

The study involved 14 young men who agreed to allow researchers to inject their jaw muscles with a concentrated salt-water solution to induce pain. Brain scans were performed on the subjects to monitor the activity of their brains' natural painkilling endorphins during the process.

Mind-Body Connection Clear

During one scan, they were told they would receive a medicine (in fact, a placebo) that might relieve pain. Subjects reported a lessening of pain after receiving the placebo, and brain scans indicated increased endorphin activity in four areas of the brain known to be involved in the response to, and processing of, pain.

Every fifteen seconds, the subjects were asked to rate the intensity of their pain on a scale of 0 to 100. After each scan, the researchers asked the participants more questions about their mood, emotions and other aspects of how they felt during the scans.

There were significant differences between ratings given by participants after the scan in which they received the placebo compared to the scan during which they received the jaw injection alone.

"We were able to see that the endorphin system was activated in pain-related areas of the brain and that activity increased when someone was told they were receiving a medicine to ease their pain. They then reported feeling less pain. The mind-body connection is quite clear," reports Zubieta.

Suggestion Triggers Endorphin Release

Another scan was performed in which subjects were administered additional placebo prior to increased pain-induction to discern whether endorphin activity could be stimulated solely by suggestion.

As additional placebo was administered, endorphin activity increased. Researchers then had to increase the amount of salt-water in order to maintain the subjects' pain levels, which they did without their knowledge.

Two-thirds of the study participants were classified as "high placebo responders," experiencing significant endorphin activity through the power of suggestion. This helps explain why so many people report relief after receiving therapies and remedies that provide no actual physical benefit.

This new information may lead to better use of cognitive, or psychological, therapy for people with chronic pain, the authors suggest.

Researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) scans to determine exactly which part of the brain the endorphin activity originated from, cross-registering them with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for the purposes of accuracy.

Copyright 2005 Daily News Central

About The Author

Rita Jenkins is a health journalist for Daily News Central, an online publication that delivers breaking news and reliable health information to consumers, healthcare providers and industry professionals: http://www.dailynewscentral.com


AND EXPLORE...

Addictions
Astrology
Careers & Employment
Communication
Creativity
Dating
Depression
Diabetes
Diets
Divorce
Education
Environment
Ethics
Exercise
Family
Goal-Setting
Grief & Loss
Happiness
Health
Kids & Teens
Leadership
Love
Marriage
Meditation
Nutrition
Organizing
Parenting
Psychology
Public Speaking
Relationships
Schools
Self Help
Self Improvement & Motivation
Sexual Relations
Spirituality
Stress Management
Travel and Leisure
Women
Writing


From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
 
Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd