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Placebo Effect Caught In the Act In Spinal Nerves 167

SerpensV passes along the news that German scientists have found direct evidence that the spinal cord is involved in the placebo effect (whose diminishing over time we discussed a bit earlier). "The researchers who made the discovery scanned the spinal cords of volunteers while applying painful heat to one arm. Then they rubbed a cream onto the arm and told the volunteers that it contained a painkiller, but in fact it had no active ingredient. Even so, the cream made spinal-cord neural activity linked to pain vanish. 'This type of mechanism has been envisioned for over 40 years for placebo analgesia,' says Donald Price, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who was not involved in the new study. 'This study provides the most direct test of this mechanism to date.'"
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Placebo Effect Caught In the Act In Spinal Nerves

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  • Not diminishing. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:13AM (#29976864) Homepage Journal

    The placebo effect isn't getting weaker, it's getting more effective. The /. article linked even states that. It the reason why if prozac was a new drug today it more than likely would have been rejected by the FDA.

    Also see these Wired & TechDirt articles. [] []

  • by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:17AM (#29976904)
    Weren't the ears and eyes of the voluneers also involved? If they hadn't heard the claim, it wouldn't have had the same effect (and did they actually have a control where they rubbed a cream without saying it would diminish pain, perhaps saying it would prevent damage to the skin or perhaps even that it would make it hurt more?). I'd have RTFA except it's behind a paywall.
  • by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:26AM (#29976998) Homepage Journal

    Never applied for one, but I think this is probably the result of the "get paid for medical testing" ads you see in the back of free circulars in & around college towns.

    p.s. Why the hell is this marked Troll?

  • by AdmiralXyz ( 1378985 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @09:40AM (#29977146)
    I gotta say, posting a link claiming the placebo effect is "diminishing over time" when that link is to a Slashdot article saying precisely the opposite is a new low.

    Hell, you don't even have to click on the link: you can see what it actually says just by reading the URL!
  • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:34AM (#29977842) Homepage Journal

    Pain is where you find it, its certainly not everywhere in the human body.
    I had a stent put in my heart last week and the only anesthetic needed is a local in the groin where they feed the wire in.

    I also have to inject myself in the stomach twice a day and there are some sites which will hurt and others which are completely painless. I just gently prod with the needle till i find a pain free spot and just let the needle sink in under its own weight.

    I'd also rate dental pain as probably the worst pain in the male body , it's possible child birth might be more painful but we have no way of knowing. I believe cancer tops all other pain.

    Getting my fingers and hands sliced up in an attempted mugging about the same as a wasp sting (a brief sharp pain). Heart attack is about the same as a tattoo but scary.

    best pain killer has to be morphine not just for the pain relief but for the relaxed attitude , you just don't feel panic or fear. If I have a choice in how I die other than in my sleep it would be whilst under the influence of morphine.

  • by gblackwo ( 1087063 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @10:42AM (#29977972) Homepage

    I believe cancer tops all other pain.

    Had Leukemia, didn't hurt at all. Some of the stuff to treat it did though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:16PM (#29982038)

    Now, when you say you've been doing research on statin therapies, have you been reading scientific journals? Maybe you should try it out.
    Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III)

    That is a link to the NCEP ATP III. It is the national guideline endorsed by the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (which is a branch of NIH). Is is the basis for all treatment of dyslipidemias and hyperlipidemias in America today, and, I hope, the rest of the world.

    Here are some quotes for you:

    "the robust relationship between total cholesterol and CHD found in epidemiological studies strongly implies that an elevated LDL is a powerful risk factor"

    "a causal role for LDL has been corroborated by controlled clinical trials of LDL lowering; recent trials especially have revealed a striking eduction in incidence of CHD."

    "The Framingham Heart Study,10 the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT),11 and the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) trial found a direct relationship between levels of LDL cholesterol (or total cholesterol) and the rate of new-onset CHD in men and women who were initially free of CHD." (please look up the Framingham study - it is one of the most important studies conducted in the past 20 years

    "Studies across different populations reveal that those with higher cholesterol levels have more atherosclerosis and CHD than do those having lower levels"

    "The positive relationship between serum cholesterol levels and the development of first or subsequent attacks of CHD is observed over a broad range of LDL-cholesterol levels"

    "In recent trials, statin therapy reduced risk for CHD in men and women, in those with or without heart disease, in older and younger subjects, in those with diabetes and hypertension, and at most levels of cholesterol."

    I won't copy and paste a data table, but statin therapy induced the regression of coronary lesions twice as much as placebo and reduced the rate of cardiovascular events by 33%. Both of these statistics carry a 99.99% confidence in the statistical significance of the findings.

    "a 10 percent reduction in serum cholesterol level attained at age 40 yields a reduction in relative risk for CHD of 50 percent at age 40, whereas a 10 percent cholesterol reduction gives only a 20 percent reduction in risk if begun at age 70. This finding implies that the greatest long-term benefit is attained by early intervention;"

    And in case you were wondering, heart disease is the number one killer in America ( So please stop misinforming people with your 'personal research.' I'm not in IT, so I don't make claims about information technology that I don't know about. You're not in medicine. You shouldn't make claims about medicine that you don't know about. You're inhibiting the work of all the medical practitioners who are saving lives and increasing quality of life every day.

    - Your Friendly Neighborhood Medical Professional

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @07:01PM (#29987502)

    You are making stuff up, and talking out of your anus. Statins have been shown to cause a reduction in mortality and morbidity from cardiovascular events -- so they help.

    It's sad that on a "News for Nerds" site that people believe this hippie "I've done a lot of research on lately" (by reading paranoia websites).

    Don't believe some random slashdot poster, do REAL research yourself.

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