When is a Placebo Acceptable in the Clinic?

We recently published a paper with the mouthful title “Placebo Use in Pain Management:  A Mechanism-Based Educational Intervention Enhances Placebo Treatment Acceptability”[4].  Before I get to the the findings from that paper, I’d like to provide some context of where this paper fits in the larger placebo analgesia literature. Placebo is not … [Read more...]

Learning from others pain. Nocebo hyperalgesia induced by social observational learning

In 2009 Luana Colloca and Fabrizio Benedetti (Colloca & Benedetti, 2009) proved that placebo analgesia can be induced by social observational learning. Since sex seems to be an important factor that affects pain perception, placebo analgesia, and social observational learning, we wanted to study the effect of the sex of both the model and … [Read more...]

Putting the placebo out to pasture

I’ve long had this kind of fascination with the placebo effect, it’s like a kind of magic that even grownups are allowed to believe in. In fact, it’s a magic trick so good that you’d considered a bit off if you didn’t believe in it. This being the case I found it a bit traumatic when I first read a review of placebo effects in clinical trials that … [Read more...]

Placebo Analgesia

One of the best workshops I attended at the IASP congress in Milano was on placebo analgesia, run by three very classy speakers: Luana Colloca, Ulrike Bingel, and Regine Klinger. I learnt lots about the neurobiological mechanisms of placebo and nocebo, and came away with lots to ponder.  This is what I learnt: The rostral anterior cingulate … [Read more...]