Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain Imaging Study Reveals Placebo’s Effect

07.01.2002


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
Further information:
http://www.sciam.com/news/010202/1.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>