Image: Courtesy of Andrew Leuchter et al.
Scientists have recognized for some time that people suffering from depression often experience a substantial reduction in symptoms when given a placebo. In fact, this observation has led some researchers to propose that up to 75 percent of the apparent efficacy of antidepressant medicine may actually be attributable to the placebo effect. Determining the cause of a patient’s improvement under such circumstances is no easy task. But the results of a new study may shed light on the matter. According to a report in the January issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, depressed patients who respond to placebo treatment do exhibit a change in brain function, but one that differs from that seen in patients who respond to medication.
Using so-called quantitative electroencephalography imaging, a team of researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles studied electrical activity in the brains of 51 depressed patients receiving either placebo treatment or active medication. Patients who responded favorably to the placebo, the investigators found, showed increased activity in a region of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. Those who responded to medication, in contrast, exhibited suppressed activity in that area. The image shown here illustrates changes in prefrontal cortex activity over time in the placebo responders group (top row) and the medication responders group (bottom row), with red indicating an increase in activity and blue-green representing a decrease. "Both treatments affect prefrontal brain function," the researchers write, "but they have distinct effects and time courses."
These results "show us that there are different pathways to improvement for people suffering from depression," team member Andrew Leuchter notes. “Medications are effective, but there may be other ways to help people get better," he adds. "If we can identify what some of the mechanisms are that help people get better with placebo, we may be able to make treatments more effective.”
Kate Wong | Scientific American
Speed data for the brain’s navigation system
06.12.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering