Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Side effects for placebo poppers

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Science  02 Dec 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6316, pp. 1115-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6316.1115-g

Patients in clinical trials may see their conditions improve, sometimes dramatically, even when they are in the control arm of the study. Tétreault et al. used brain imaging to analyze the connectivity during placebo and pain relief treatment for arthritis-induced knee pain. Brain activity associated with the placebo effect was recorded in the right midfrontal gyrus circuitry of about half of the participants. In contrast, duloxetine-induced analgesia stimulated activity deep in the right parahippo-campal gyrus. In some patients, duloxetine interfered adversely with the placebo effect. The responses of individuals can now be differentiated, and their exposure to ineffective therapies can be monitored.

PLOS Biol. 10.1371/journal. pbio.1002570 (2016).

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