All posts tagged: Luana

Placebo effect: Luana Colloca is a neuroscientist looking to change the way we treat pain

Placebo effect: Luana Colloca is a neuroscientist looking to change the way we treat pain

KLAWE RZECZY; headhot: Matthew Paul D’Agostino For a phenomenon that has been known about for hundreds of years, there is still much to learn about the placebo effect – when a person’s health improves after taking a dummy treatment like a sugar pill. It is thought that the expectation of a positive outcome is behind it, and that a negative expectation is involved in its unwelcome opposite, the nocebo effect, which is when symptoms worsen. But questions remain about exactly how the mind affects the body in this way and why some people experience the effect more strongly than others. Luana Colloca is among those tackling such questions. A neuroscientist and the director of the Placebo Beyond Opinions Center at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore, Colloca and her colleagues have shown how specific gene variants can shape the extent of someone’s placebo response. They are now looking into how best to harness such effects to help soothe pain, which could decrease the use of prescription opioid drugs and the risk of …