Scientists could pinpoint the part of the brain responsible for the placebo effect for pain relief.
Placebo effect happens when a fake treatment results to substantial pain reduction. Researchers from Northwestern Medicine and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said that by learning the part of the brain that causes the placebo effect could result to personalized medicine for chronic pain.
They used a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technology for this study. They believe that this technology will help them develop individual pain therapy through targeted pain medication, Science Daily reported.
These researchers explained that this is the first time that the technology was used to study placebo effect. Using this device, they found out that the placebo pill caused a strong analgesia effect that caused half of the patients reporting pain relief.
The researchers also believe that their findings can create a more precise and accurate clinical trials which will help them eliminate people that have a high placebo response.
According to Futurity, the researchers were able to discover the brain region in the mid-frontal gyrus that identifies placebo pill responses. They explained that this is 95 percent validated by the second group individuals who took part of the study.
Marwan Baliki of the Northwestern University of Feinberg explained that it is important to predict placebo responses on chronic pain.
"This will help design a personalized medicine for the patients. It will also enhance success of clinical trials," Baliki said.
The researchers admitted that they experience trial and error while testing the drug. They change the dosage and tried other drugs if the drugs don't work on the patients.
As of to date, there have been different studies on the placebo effect within controlled environment. They explained that these experiments help in the understanding of the biological behavior of placebo responses, but it's hard to test this on hospitals where patients experience chronic pain.
The researchers believe that their study can give way to similar studies that provide brain-based predictive best therapy option for patients. This study can decrease patient's exposure to ineffective therapies.