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Mind: Just expecting treatment improves brain activity in Parkinson’s patients

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The placebo effect. Parkinson’s disease. Here:

Learning-related brain activity in Parkinson’s patients improves as much in response to a placebo treatment as to real medication, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Columbia University.

Past research has shown that while Parkinson’s disease is a neurological reality, the brain systems involved may also be affected by a patient’s expectations about treatment. The new study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, explains how the placebo treatment — when patients believe they have received medication when they have not — works in people with Parkinson’s disease by activating dopamine-rich areas in the brain.

“The findings highlight the power of expectations to drive changes in the brain,” said Tor Wager, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at CU-Boulder and a co-author of the study. “The research highlights important links between psychology and medicine.”

See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

and

“Science Fictions” series on the human mind

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allan at Brains on Purpose

One Reply to “Mind: Just expecting treatment improves brain activity in Parkinson’s patients

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    I disagree with the presumptions behind this.
    If a fake thing corrects a mind problem then its not a mind problem. not a practical mechanical failure.
    if the fake stirs up other things that ‘heal” then its not true its a real mechanical breakdown.
    i think it shows its all just triggering problems with memory operation.
    so positive thinking really simply affects the triggering . not the brain or machine but simply the triggering mechanism.

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