When the patient expects a therapy to be effective, the area of the brain that controls the pain becomes active, leading to the secretion of the analgesic substance endorphin. As a result, patients will feel better regardless of whether the therapy has a direct effect.
In other words, if the patient really believes that the drug will work, even in the case of a fake drug, it can cause the brain to release analgesic substances. The same effect as a real medicine.
A German study found that if a patient really believes that a drug will work, even in the case of a counterfeit drug, it can cause the brain to release analgesic substances, which is as effective as using a real drug.
At the International Medical Magnetic Resonance Symposium in Berlin, researchers at the University of Hamburg in Germany published the results of this study. In the study, the researchers scanned the brains of 19 healthy volunteers using functional magnetic resonance imaging. During the scan, the researchers used a laser to pin the volunteer’s hand. The researchers told the volunteers that an analgesic ointment had been applied to one of their hands, while the other hand was applied to a common hand cream for reference.
However, in fact, the hands of the volunteers were all hand creams. When the volunteers believed that they were applying an analgesic ointment, they said that the process of feeling the hands being tied was not so painful, and that the part of the brain that was associated with feeling pain was not active.
This study further confirms the medical placebo effect from a physiological point of view, and is the potential positive impact of psychological cues on patients. The placebo effect refers to taking a fake drug that is completely devoid of efficacy without knowing the patient’s knowledge, but the patient gets the same or even better effect than the real drug. In recent years, placebo effects have been increasingly applied in medical practice. A 2005 study showed that 48% of general practitioners in Denmark admitted to giving patients a placebo for at least 10 times a year.
However, scientists have not found the principle of how the placebo effect relieves pain. And this study by German scientists found that when a patient expects a therapy to be effective, the area of the brain that controls pain becomes active, leading to the secretion of the analgesic substance endorphin. As a result, patients will feel better regardless of whether the therapy has a direct effect.
This finding helps explain why some people claim to benefit from some treatments that don’t actually use any analgesic ingredients. Moreover, this finding further confirms the argument that the efficacy of many existing medical methods does come from the placebo effect. For example, has found that 75% of antidepressants are based on the patient’s desire to reduce the condition.
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