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The Placebo Effect: Mind Over Body

A couple of years ago, I posted a brief satire about the FDA's approval of a prescription placebo to treat a "wide range of conditions." What was once considered a joke or a sham effect, however, may be more real and powerful than conventional medicine ever gave it credit for...

A new study has found proof the mere belief in a pill's ability to relieve pain -- the placebo effect -- is enough to allow the brain to release endorphins, the body's natural pain-fighting chemicals.

Researchers studied the effect by injecting salt water into the jaws of 14 healthy men while they were receiving positron emission tomography (PET) scans. During one scan, a patient was told he would receive pain medication, just not that it was a placebo injection. Then, during subsequent scans, patients were asked to rate the pain they were feeling on a 0-100 scale.

After telling the men the placebos were coming, it took higher amounts of salt water to maintain the same level of pain. Overall, nine of the 14 participants were labeled "high" responders, meaning they felt a stronger placebo effect than the rest of were considered on the "low" side.

Research like this should prompt the conventional medical community to reconsider calling the placebo effect something else. In fact, it might be more accurate to refer to this as the psychological manifestation effect, which is really the power of one's mind to manifest into reality what one's consistent and persistent thoughts are.

And why I often remind you having a positive mental attitude affects your health for the good.

Forbes.com August 24, 2005

Journal of Neurology, Vol. 25, No. 34, August 24, 2005: 7754-7762

ABC News, August 24, 2005

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