Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Testing the power of the mind

Here are the placebos given to a 30-year old person being treated for depression.

For years, scientists have looked at the placebo effect as just a figment of overactive patient imaginations. They weren't sure that the dummy medications had curbed epileptic seizures, lower blood pressure, or soothe migraines.

Now with the application of better technolgy the scientists are seeing surprising results. Using PET scanners and MRIs to peer into the heads of patients who respond to sugar pills, researchers have discovered that the placebo effect is not "all in patients' heads" but rather, in their brains. New research shows that belief in a dummy treatment leads to changes in brain chemistry.

This is the control of the mind over the body.

"The power which a man's imagination has over his body to heal it or make it sick is a force which none of us are born without. The first man had it; the last one will possess it." -Mark Twain, 1903.

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