Placebo/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Placebo.
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Selection of Reviews on The Placebo Effect

This is a selected subset of the review articles that were published in peer-reviewed academic journals about the use of placebos in 2007-2008.

  • Diederich NJ, Goetz CG.(2008) The placebo treatments in neurosciences: New insights from clinical and neuroimaging studies. Neurology 71:677-84 PMID 18725593 "A positive placebo response is seen in up to 50% of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), pain syndromes, and depression. The response is more pronounced with invasive procedures or advanced disease."
  • Diener HC, Schorn CF, Bingel U, Dodick DW (2008) The importance of placebo in headache research. Cephalalgia 28:1003-11 PMID 18727647 "Invasive procedures such as injections have a higher placebo response compared with oral drugs."
  • Oken BS (2008) Placebo effects: clinical aspects and neurobiology.Brain 131:2812-23. PMID 18567924 "Recent research in placebo analgesia and other conditions has demonstrated that several neurotransmitter systems, such as opiate and dopamine, are involved with the placebo effect. Brain regions including anterior cingulate cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia have been activated following administration of placebo. A patient's expectancy of improvement may influence outcomes as much as some active interventions and this effect may be greater for novel interventions and for procedures"
  • Zhang W, Robertson J, Jones AC, Dieppe PA, Doherty M.(2008) The placebo effect and its determinants in osteoarthritis: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Ann Rheum Dis 67:1716-23 PMID 18541604 "Placebo is effective in the treatment of OA, especially for pain, stiffness and self-reported function. The size of this effect is influenced by the strength of the active treatment, the baseline disease severity, the route of delivery and the sample size of the study."
  • Kaptchuk TJ, et al. (2008)Do "placebo responders" exist? Contemp Clin Trials 29:587-95. PMID 18378192 "Since 1969, at least eight experiments exposed asthma patients to multiple administrations of placebo given with deceptive suggestions that the "treatment" was an active medication"
  • Fernandes R, Ferreira JJ, Sampaio C. (2008) The placebo response in studies of acute migraine. J Pediatr 152:527-33, 533.e1. PMID 18346509 "There is a widely variable placebo response in pediatric migraine trials"
  • Schenk PW. (2008) 'Just breathe normally': word choices that trigger nocebo responses in patients. Am J Nurs 108:52-7.PMID 18316911 "Negative reactions to placebo medications -- sometimes called "nocebo effects" -- are well documented. Similar responses can be induced in suggestible patients when providers use language that tends to increase patients' stress and negative expectations."
  • Lee YY, Lin JL (2008) Linking patients' trust in physicians to health outcomes. Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 69:42-6 PMID 18293731 "The consequences of patients' trust in physicians and the practical implications of trust to quality patient care are presented."
  • Furukawa TA, Watanabe N, Omori IM, Churchill R. (2007) Can pill placebo augment cognitive-behavior therapy for panic disorder? BMC Psychiatry 7:73. PMID 18093337. "The act of taking a pill placebo may enhance the placebo effect already contained in the effective psychotherapeutic intervention during the acute phase treatment."
  • Khan A, Redding N, Brown WA (2008) The persistence of the placebo response in antidepressant clinical trials. J Psychiatr Res 42791-6 PMID 18036616 Our objective was to assess the persistence of the placebo response during at least 12 weeks of continued placebo administration in depressed patients who have responded to 6-8 weeks of acute placebo treatment. ... Although significantly more patients on placebo than on antidepressants relapsed in the continuation phase, 4 out of 5 placebo responders stayed well."
  • Price DD, Finniss DG, Benedetti F (2008) A comprehensive review of the placebo effect: recent advances and current thought. Annu Rev Psychol 59:565-90. PMID 17550344 - major review article; "Placebo factors have neurobiological underpinnings and actual effects on the brain and body. They are not just response biases."
  • Eccles R (2007)The power of the placebo. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep 7:100-4 PMID 17437679 "The placebo is much more than a control medicine in a clinical trial. The placebo response is the largest component of any allergy treatment and consists of two components: nonspecific effects (eg, natural recovery) and a "true placebo effect" that is the psychological therapeutic effect of the treatment."