Placebo best respond good and honest optimists

November 18, 2012 5:59

© flickr.com lu_lu

© flickr.com lu_lu

Do not get fooled by some slang words in the reports on biomedical research, in which they write that people clearly respond to placebo, fools will not name. As shown by recent studies, it is probably people who usually characterized more decent words: honest, open, courageous in the face of danger, and always ready to lend a helping hand to someone who is in trouble.

The study's authors believe that, possibly, the fools are the ones on whom placebo effect: they are angry and hostile, prone to the negative perception of reality and seem least able to organize your thoughts and tune in to the healing of my body.

In clinical studies, a placebo is a harmless substance that mimics the drug. With it, scientists can compare the results. If the test substance or method of treatment has a better effect than a placebo, the effect of such a substance or method is considered to be "valid." So-called "placebo effect" for a long time did not pay enough attention, because "positive trend" in the patient's condition explained by certain processes, "taking place in the head": an imaginary thought this improvement, short-term response of naive gullible patients optimists.

But the thing is that the placebo effect is very often true, it is very strong evidence that our consciousness affects the physical pain, infection and the pathological condition of the body. The belief that the treatment will result, can help mobilize the immune system, relieve pain and speed up recovery.

If the doctors will know who is better and who is worse response to placebo, they can learn useful techniques that allow to determine which of the patients assigned to placebo as treatment, and those that required more intensive treatment. And the scientists who are trying to understand all this, and the difference between the objective and the results of treatment by the sensations, which says patients in the experiment, it is useful to know what people are most likely to respond to treatment no matter what drugs they take — these medicines or placebo.

Now doctors and scientists have to say, the results of the study were published last week in the journal "Neyropsiho-pharmacology» («Neuropsychopharmacology»). About 50 volunteers from the University of Michigan participated in the study, in which were identified and evaluated those personal characteristics which tend to remain the same throughout life. Apart from altruism and empathy for the experiment measured the severity of qualities such as the propensity to anxiety, extraversion, readiness for new experiences and the ability to accept and conscientiousness.

Then the volunteers in the facial muscles — in the area of nodules entered saline two kinds: one of them had to be painful, and the other — no. Some from time to time to give anesthetics, and others a placebo. None of the participants in the experiment did not know that they have entered, and what drugs they were given to reduce pain. Subjects regularly noted the degree of pain they experienced and efficiently analgesics. In addition, the researchers measured the level of cortisol in the blood — a stress hormone, which is a good measure of anxiety and discomfort, as well as the extent of the reaction of the body to receive painkillers Activity level parts of the brain.

Those volunteers who experienced pain relief when taken pseudo-analgesics, ie placebo, not just celebrated their "pain relief", even the reaction of the brain indicated that the repressive mechanisms of pain in their body — natural selection in opioidnopodobnyh brain chemicals — intensified to the maximum. But when researchers looked at whom the subjects of placebo response was more pronounced, they found that their personal characteristics more than others expressed the qualities of altruism and the ability to withstand stress firmly. In addition, they have a maximum manifest traits such as honesty, openness, honesty, respect for others. And, finally, they have fewer other noted alertness and tendency to manipulate other people.

Here's how the results commented Dr. Hong-Car Subeta (Jon-Kar Zubieta), primary author of the research and an expert on the placebo effect from the University of Michigan: "People with these traits have the maximum ability to perceive information from the environment — in this case, from placebo — and convert it to cause biological changes. "

Placebo best respond good and honest optimists («Los Angeles Times», USA)
Melissa Healy (Melissa Healy)

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