About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Placebos and Sham Treatments: How Genes Plays A Role

by Tanya Thomas on December 6, 2008 at 9:13 AM
Placebos and Sham Treatments: How Genes Plays A Role

The pharmacological phenomenon placebo has long remained a mystery - the ability for certain people benefit from sham treatments. Now, scientists have unraveled a gene which has a role to play in the increased vulnerability to the 'placebo effect'.

The finding could be considered a milestone in the quest to understand the phenomenon, which often blurs the results of clinical trials.


And the finding came despite the fact the gene is not vital to a person's response to treatment for all conditions and the experiment involved only a small number of people.

"To our knowledge, it's the first time anyone has linked a gene to the placebo effect," New Scientist quoted Tomas Furmark of Uppsala University in Sweden as saying.

For the study, the researchers enrolled 25 people with an exaggerated fear of public humiliation, also known as social anxiety disorder.

The experiment required the participants to give a speech at the start and end of an eight-week treatment-actually a placebo-which was not disclosed to them and their doctors.

It was found that ten volunteers responded to the placebo much better than the rest.

By the time the experiment was over, the anxiety scores of these participants had halved, whereas the others' stayed the same.

According to the brain scans, it was found that the activity in the amygdala, the brain's "fear" centre, had dropped by 3 per cent.

For determining if there were genetic differences between responders and non-responders, Furmark screened them for a variant of the gene for tryptophan hydroxylase-2, which makes the brain chemical, serotonin.

According to earlier studies, people with two copies of a particular "G" variant are less anxious in standard "fear" tests.

And 8 of the 10 responders had two copies of the factor, while it was not seen at all in any of the non-responders.

Source: ANI
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

Brain Circuits That Shape Bedtime Rituals in Mice
New study sheds light on the intrinsic, yet often overlooked, role of sleep preparation as a hardwired survival strategy.
NELL-1 Protein Aids to Reduce Bone Loss in Astronauts
Microgravity-induced bone loss in space, can be reduced by systemic delivery of NELL-1, a protein required for bone growth and its maintenance.
Connecting Genetic Variants to the Alzheimer's Puzzle
Researchers establish connections between Alzheimer's-linked genetic alterations and the functioning of brain cells.
Gene Therapy Sparks Spinal Cord Regeneration
Team at NeuroRestore introduces a groundbreaking gene therapy that has effectively promoted nerve regrowth and reconnection, post spinal cord injury.
Unlocking the Gut Microbiome's Influence on Bone Density
Scientists aim to pinpoint particular functional pathways affected by these bacteria that may have an impact on skeletal health.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

Placebos and Sham Treatments: How Genes Plays A Role Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests