Thursday August 16, 2018

Even a placebo with no medical value can ease pain: Study

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Washington: Even a placebo with no medical value can ease pain in research participants, finds a study.

“We’re still learning a lot about the critical ingredients of placebo effects. What we think now is that they require both belief in the power of the treatment and experiences that are consistent with those beliefs,” said senior author Scott Schafer from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The brain plays a key role in subjects for whom the placebo gel worked, and that more research is warranted.

“Those experiences make the brain learn to respond to the treatment as a real event. After the learning has occurred, your brain can still respond to the placebo even if you no longer believe in it,” Schafer pointed out in The Journal of Pain.

For the study, the team applied a ceramic heating element to research subjects’ forearms.

The team then applied what the subject thought was an analgesic gel on the affected skin that turned down the temperature.

In fact, the treatment was vaseline with blue food colouring in an official looking pharmaceutical container.

“They believed the treatment was effective in relieving pain,” Schafer explained.

“After this process, they had acquired the placebo effect. We tested them with and without the treatment on medium intensity. They reported less pain with the placebo,” Schafer said.

The findings may open doors to new ways to treat drug addiction or aid in pain management for children or adults who have undergone surgery and are taking strong and potentially addictive painkillers.

“We know placebos induce the release of pain-relieving substances in the brain, but we don’t yet know whether this expectation-independent placebo effect is using the same or different systems,” Schafer concluded.

(IANS)

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Marital Spats May Deteriorate Your Health

Significant link between hostility and the biomarker LBP, which indicates the presence of bacteria in the blood. And there was a strong link between that biomarker and evidence of inflammation.

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How marital spats can affect your health. Pixabay

Couples, please take note. Fighting with your spouse may deteriorate your health, a new study has found.

The findings suggest that married people who fight are more likely to suffer from leaky guts — a problem that unleashes bacteria into the blood and can drive up disease-causing inflammation.

“We think that this everyday marital distress — at least for some people — is causing changes in the gut that lead to inflammation and, potentially, illness,” said lead author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser from the Ohio State University.

For the study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the team recruited around 50 healthy married couples, surveyed them about their relationships and then encouraged them to discuss and try to resolve a conflict likely to provoke strong disagreement.

The researchers left the couples alone for these discussions, videotaped the 20-minute interactions and later watched how they fought.

Couples have tough time understanding soft negative emotions like sadness, loneliness of each other: Study.
Couples have tough time understanding soft negative emotions .

They categorised their verbal and non-verbal fighting behaviours, with special interest in hostility — things such as dramatic eye rolls or criticism of one’s partner.

The researchers also compared blood drawn pre-fight to blood drawn post-fight.

Men and women who demonstrated more hostile behaviours during the observed discussions had higher levels of one biomarker for leaky gut — LPS-binding protein — than their mellower peers, the researchers said.

Evidence of leaky gut was even greater in study participants who had particularly hostile interactions with their spouses and a history of depression or another mood disorder, they added.

Also Read: Reduce Loneliness and Boost Your Mental Health With Cycling

The study found a strong, significant link between hostility and the biomarker LBP, which indicates the presence of bacteria in the blood. And there was a strong link between that biomarker and evidence of inflammation.

Lifestyle changes that could contribute to decreased risk of gut-related inflammation include diets high in lean proteins, healthful fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Probiotics might also be useful, Kiecolt-Glaser noted. (IANS)

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