Placebo sparks brain painkillers


‘US researchers say they have evidence of why some people get pain relief from sham treatment.

They looked at the so-called placebo effect – when a person is successfully treated by a dummy drug just because they believe it works.’

In two succinct paragraphs, the article manages to disparage the amazing human body four times, using the words ‘sham’, ‘dummy’, ‘placebo’ and ‘just because they believe it’. This is pretty impressive writing.

The researchers injected salt water into the jaw muscles to cause pain, gave the patients what was supposed to be a pain-killing drug but was actually inert, and found that 9 out of 14 of them (roughly 64% or nearly two thirds) said they had much less pain and could tolerate greater amounts of the salt water. Their endorphin (natural pain-killing) activity increased after they were told they were about to receive the ‘pain-killers’.

So the majority of them were able to modulate the amount of pain purely by a thought and a consequent belief. Four areas of the brain were mainly involved: the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the pregenual rostral right anterior cingulate, the right anterior insular cortex and the left nucleus accumbens. There’s no nice way I can say that. The activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was associated with the expectation of relief from pain, the other areas with emotional reactions to it, levels of unpleasantness, and relief from the intensity of pain.

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 The above with respect and thanks to Hypnotherapist Jack Raymond.


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