Thursday March 21, 2019

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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Beware! Sipping Hot Tea Raises Risk of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cancer in India and eighth most globally. It affects more men than women.

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Scalding water irritates the lining of the mouth and throat which can fuel tumours, scientists believe. Pixabay

Love to drink your tea piping hot? Beware, it could raise the risk of esophageal cancer, finds a study.

The study showed that risk of esophageal cancer more than doubled among those who regularly drank tea at 75 degrees Celsius

However, waiting for at least four minutes before drinking a cup of freshly boiled tea can reduce the risk of the cancer arising from the oesophagus — the food pipe that runs between the throat and the stomach.

“Many people enjoy drinking tea, coffee, or other hot beverages. However, according to our report, drinking very hot tea can increase the risk of esophageal cancer, and it is therefore advisable to wait until hot beverages cool down before drinking,” said lead author Farhad Islami of the American Cancer Society.

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The study showed that risk of esophageal cancer more than doubled among those who regularly drank tea at 75 degrees Celsius. Pixabay

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer, involved 50,045 individuals aged 40 to 75 years.

Drinking 700 ml per day of tea or more at a higher temperature (60 degrees Celsius or higher) was associated with a 90 per cent higher risk of esophageal cancer, the researchers said.

The results could also be extended to coffee, hot chocolate or other hot beverages.

Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cancer in India and eighth most globally. It affects more men than women.

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The results could also be extended to coffee, hot chocolate or other hot beverages. pixabay

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In 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had warned of the cancer risk associated with drinks above 65 degrees Celsius.

Scalding water irritates the lining of the mouth and throat which can fuel tumours, scientists believe. (IANS)