Science

Why Placebos Really Work: Latest Science Update

By Staff Reporter , Jul 20, 2016 05:10 AM EDT

Studies have validated that the intake of placebos have a therapeutic effect to those who take it. Patients who have taken this kind of drugs have been reported to have pain relief.

It was long debated how the use of placebos could actually work in the body's neurobiological system. It has been defined as a drug with no known pharmaceutical effect. Having that said, it is used on clinical studies of pharmaceutical companies who would want to verify the efficacy of the drug that is being studied.

As reported in Wall Street Journal, there are several studies that support how placebos' efficacy have went beyond patients' expectations.  This claim of Professor Ted J. Kaptchuk, director of the Program in Placebo Studies and Therapeutic Encounter at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, had been based on a study made in 1979.

Patients who felt dental pain after the procedure were part of the experiment. They were given placebos which they thought were pain relievers. An estimated one-third of these patients had testified they felt no pain. Any drugs that had been taken thereafter to relieve pain subsequently removed the effect of placebo in the body.

The research has shown that placebos are able to decrease pain through the activation of the brain's reward system by releasing dopamine and endocannabinoids. Current studies have been leaning on chronic diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and migraine.

The dental pain experiment speaks volumes on this experiment and they have proven the same fact derived from this decades ago experiment. With this, scientists are beginning to discover if that is true as well for the chronic back pain and fatigue of cancer patients.

In the future, this research could guide more doctors to prescribe it and more patients to use these substances. 

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