Monday, October 19, 2009

Placebo Effect Starts in the Spine - Not Just the Mind

The placebo effect isn't just in the mind. It starts in the spine cord with the release of endorphins that block incoming pain signals, new research suggests.
If you thought the placebo effect was all in the mind, think again. Scientists have solved the mystery of why some people benefit from remedies that do not contain any active pain-relief ingredients.

Research suggests that placebos work, in part, by blocking pain signals in the spinal cord from arriving at the brain in the first place.

When patients expect a treatment to be effective the brain area responsible for pain control is activated, causing the release of natural endorphins.

The endorphins send a cascade of instructions down to the spinal cord to suppress incoming pain signals and patients feel better whether or not the treatment had any direct effect. Read more

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