A new study has revealed that while placebo treatment or placebo analgesia reduces pain, the individual’s mindset also determines the act of alleviating the pain. In other words, the treatment also reduces pain-related activity in multiple areas of the brain.
This study portrays the first large-scale meta-analysis where individual participants’ whole-brain images were investigated. It enabled the researchers to analyze those parts of the brain which they did not have sufficient resolution to look at in the past. The analysis included 20 neuroimaging studies with 600 healthy participants. The results provided new perspicacity into the size, localization, significance, and heterogeneity of placebo effects on pain-related brain activity. According to the researchers, the findings illustrated the fact that participants who exhibited the most pain reduction with the placebo also showed the maximum reductions in brain areas associated with pain construction.
To Know More, You May Refer To:
Matthias Zunhammer, Tamás Spisák, Tor D. Wager, Ulrike Bingel. Meta-analysis of neural systems underlying placebo analgesia from individual participant fMRI data. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21179-31
- Zunhammer, M., Spisák, T., Wager, T.D. et al. Meta-analysis of neural systems underlying placebo analgesia from individual participant fMRI data. Nat Commun 12, 1391 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21179-3