New Research Sheds Light on How Placebos Work
Studies show that fake medicine, also known as a placebo can reduce pain. The studies reveal how expectations that something will prevent pain that it actually triggers a neurobiological response that prevents pain, rather than merely a psychological response.
A new study shows that placebos are associated with increased activity in the brain's frontal cortex which sends signals into the brain stem where physiological responses to emotional events are regulated. The signals reach all the way to the nerve center of the spinal chord. The study shows that opioids, natural pain killers in the body are released when placebos are taken.
In addition, new research shows that disabling the left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex completely blocked the placebo effect. This new research may enable pharmaceutical companies to better understand how to improve the efficacy of their painkillers.
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