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Placebo for relief from emotions

Researchers have shown that placebo treatment can reduce the nature of emotional experience// the patients can have from uncommon experiences.

Placebo treatment consists of dummy medication or intervention. This can be in the form of harmless tablets, saline water injections etc.

In the new research done by the scientists of Karolinska Institute, researchers have shown that placebo treatment can effectively control the impact of negative experiences by controlling the expression of emotions generated through the exposure. Research shows that the placebo treatment affects the neural circuitry of the brain in case of relieving anxiety in the same way as it does for pain. The placebo treatment, from previous studies, had been known to relieve pain in at least 35% of the cases where it is administered.

In the new study, researchers had used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the blood flow in the brain in order to maintain brain activity. The results of the study showed that subjects reduced ratings of unpleasantness by about 29%. This reduction in rating unpleasant experiences as seen by subjects in photographs correlated with the fMRI scan reports that showed reduced activity in the seats of emotions in the brain with the placebo treatment.

Reference: Neuron, June 2005

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