Researchers characterize neurologic response associated with placebo effect

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurological disorder, affecting almost 10 million people worldwide. While there is no cure for this disease, many patients are able to successfully manage their symptoms. Surgical interventions appear to provide relief for some patients.

Unfortunately, these procedures have been difficult to fully evaluate because many patients have a strong placebo response to sham surgery in clinical trials. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies a neurological network that may predict patients that are likely to have a favorable response to sham surgery. David Eidelberg and colleagues at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research evaluated Parkinson's disease patients enrolled in a double blind gene therapy trial. Brain networks were evaluated prior to the sham surgery and after recovery. Patients that responded favorably to sham surgery expressed a distinct neurological profile. After it was revealed to these patients that they were part of the , their perceived improvements declined and their neurological network more closely resembled the pre-surgery profile.

In their accompanying commentary, Mariya Cherkasova and A. Jon Stoessl at University of British Columbia note that the ability to identify sham responders may limit placebo effects in and help better identify efficacious treatments.

More information: J Clin Invest. DOI: 10.1172/JCI75073.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Targeted exercise relieves sciatica pain

Apr 09, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Active conservative symptom-guided therapy for severe sciatica can safely reduce pain and improve neurological function at a rate that matches or surpasses outcomes from common higher-cost surgical ...

Placebo effects of different therapies not identical

Jul 31, 2013

Not all placebos are equal, and patients who respond to one placebo don't always respond to others, according to research published July 31 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Jian Kong from Massachusetts General Hospit ...

Recommended for you

MSF warns Liberia Ebola 'progress' could be illusory

5 minutes ago

Global aid agency Doctors Without Borders urged caution Thursday over claims of a slowdown in infections in Ebola-hit Liberia, saying the apparent drop could be due to poor management of the sick.

Africans in New York complain of Ebola stigma

3 hours ago

Members of the west African community in New York complained Wednesday that their children were being bullied at school and businesses were losing money because of hysteria over Ebola.

Ebola expert says China at risk, seeks Japan aid

3 hours ago

A scientist who helped to discover the Ebola virus says he is concerned that the disease could spread to China given the large numbers of Chinese workers traveling to and from Africa.

Study: Young people more likely to survive Ebola

15 hours ago

A new study gives fresh knowledge about who survives Ebola and why. The report by 47 health workers treating patients in Sierra Leone in West Africa is the most detailed description yet of the medical aspects of the current ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.