Placebo Effect Helps Repair Broken Heart, Study Says
Research conducted with 40 participants found that placebo is able to modify brain reactions in a positive way.
According to the researcher, this type of suffering is associated with a 20 times greater risk of depression. "In our study, we found that placebo can have significant effects on reducing the intensity of emotional pain." For decades, research has shown positive placebo results for various physical illnesses. Placebo is a fake drug with no active ingredients, and its success is based entirely on the patient's belief that it works. This is the first study to look at the impact of placebos on the emotional pain of loving rejection.
The research, published in the March Journal of Neuroscience, selected 40 volunteers who had been rejected by partners in the past six months. For the experiment, participants should take a photo of the ex, or ex, and also that of a friend of the same sex.
During a functional MRI, they would have to look at the photo of the ex and count as the had been the separation. Then the pictures of the friend were shown. In addition, the volunteers underwent a painful stimulus, a warm touch on the forearm.
The stimuli were repeated alternately, and in all cases they needed to say how they felt, on a scale of 1 (very poorly) to 5 (very well). According to the results, the regions of the brain activated by physical and emotional pain were the same.
In this way, the finding shows that a broken heart can actually cause physical pain. "Know that your pain is real - neurochemically real," commented Tor Wager, a professor of psychology and neuroscience.
All participants then had to use a nasal spray. For half of the group, the researchers said it was just a saline solution. Already for another half, it was said that it was a powerful analgesic to combat emotional pain.
Back to the resonance, they went back to seeing the ex pictures and, again, they underwent painful stimulation on the arm. The group that received the so-called analgesic (placebo) did not only feel less physical pain, but acknowledged to be better emotionally, and the brain's response changed.
The analyzes showed that the areas involved in the modulation of emotions and substances increased activity, while the area associated with pain became weaker. "Just the fact that you're doing something for yourself or something that gives you hope can have a positive impact," said Tor Wager.
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