Using the placebo effect to treat disease

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Using the placebo effect to treat disease

Postby dignan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:54 pm

Thought-provoking stuff...


Study redefines placebo effect as part of effective treatment

December 22, 2009 -- Researchers used the placebo effect to successfully treat psoriasis patients with one quarter to one half of their usual dose of a widely used steroid medication, according to an early study published online today in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Early results in human patients suggest that the new technique could improve treatment for several chronic diseases that involve mental state or the immune system, including asthma, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

By designing treatment regimens that mix active drug and placebo, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center hope to maximize drug benefits, reduce side effects, increase the number of patients who take their medicine and extend the use of drugs otherwise limited by addiction risk or toxicity. Using a fraction of the usual drug dose to get the same effect could also make possible a dramatic and timely reduction in healthcare costs, according to the authors.

The publication is a product of decades of research in the emerging field of "psychoneuro-immunology," which holds that the ability of the human immune system to fight disease is closely linked with a person's mind. Thoughts and moods are captured in neurochemicals that cause the release of hormones which interact with disease-fighting cells.

The current research team chose psoriasis for their first human experiments because it is chronic, gets worse when patients feel stress and involves the immune system. The condition causes pain and disability in four million Americans as inherited traits and irritants cause the immune system to trigger the too fast production of skin cells, resulting in red, scaly patches of dead skin.

"Our study provides evidence that the placebo effect can make possible the treatment of psoriasis with an amount of drug that should be too small to work," said Robert Ader, Ph.D., M.D.(hc), distinguished university professor in the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry.

for the rest:
http://www.physorg.com/news180705596.html
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Postby LR1234 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:31 pm

Makes you think that maybe we could have some sort of mental control over our disease. I know that when I am away on holiday enjoying myself I feel so much better and my symptoms seem to disappear. (I am sure the sun and the relaxing contributes as well)
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Postby dignan » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:16 pm

I know what you mean. I've wondered why doctors don't prescribe some inexpensive, harmless vitamin as an MS treatment (in addition to the regular stuff) to try to tap into the placebo effect. I'd vote for vitamin D since it's probably better than a placebo.
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Postby cheerleader » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:18 pm

interesting research, dig... I know folks sometimes shun this stuff, because it seems to blame the victim, but many holistic doctors recognize practices such as meditation, tai chi and yoga to be just as helpful to MS patients as meds. Not that MS is created in the mind, but that the mind can exert positive or negative affects on the body. There's certainly a connection to stress-induced cortisol and endothelial disruption. And good, positive thoughts can counter-act this.

Sunshine, laughter, relaxation, and a fine red wine. We're doing that this week...seems to be effective :)
happy holidays all,
cheer
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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Postby AndrewKFletcher » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:37 am

Read an interesting report on Homeopothy, stating that decreasing the drug doses to infinately smaller levels could have a major affect on the persons condition. Homeopothy has been attacked from every conceivable angle and attempts to discredit it from Quackwatch and others have failed because the very people they are attempting to disuade are benefiting from it.

The posts statement that placebo is involved rather than the reduction in drug prescribed becoming more potent as a result of the dilution requires closer inspection.

Andrew
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Postby dignan » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:03 am

Andrew, I was wondering if this exact effect is what is happening with the fingolimod trials. They started with a 5mg daily dose in phase 2 trials. The dose that they will be trying to get approved now that phase 3 trials are done is 0.5mg. It is possible that an even lower dose might be just as good as 0.5. Maybe it's an example of this type of placebo effect in play.

Cheer, I have decided to take your red wine prescription this week. I'm not sure on dosage though...
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Placebo spoof trials

Postby AndrewKFletcher » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:57 am

I think you are correct. The low dose however is going to affect profits, so we may see some attempts to discredit these studies.


They simply cannot call this placebo when a drug is used. Have they conveniently forgotten the principles behind the double blind controlled study?

8O
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