fredag 24 december 2010

Love Can Alleviate Pain.

Love Can Alleviate Pain is a blogpost by BrainBlogger, Dario Dieguez, Jr. The early stages of a new, romantic relationship are associated with feelings of euphoria, which likely arise from brain mechanisms responsible for sensations of pleasure or reward.

I have earlier written about these things. Screaming cells, are also about the same topic.

This is not only about love. It is about patterns of brain activation; specific patterns of brain activity may mediate reward or relief of pain. Increased activation of brain regions such as the caudate and nucleus accumbens was associated with pain relief. Some brain regions activated by the “love task” described are also associated with activation of brain areas responsible for memory, attention, and sexual arousal. In addition, the researchers had no way to determine how much attention a given participant was paying to the pictures during the experiment. Surprisingly, there was no specific brain region that increased in activity during viewing pictures of a romantic partner to a degree similar to the extent of the pain relief experienced.

Specific behavioral experiences can reduce pain without drugs, they suggest.

This from a blog,LinkProto.
Worth reading.

The fact that placebos may work even when individuals are fully knowledgeable that they are not taking an active drug may bypass the ethical dilemma of deceiving patients. According to Ted Kaptchuk at Harvard Medical School and his colleagues at least one condition can be calmed by placebo, even when everyone knows it's just an inert pill. This raises a thorny question: should we start offering sugar pills for ailments without a treatment? The power of Nothing?

Every fibromyalgia patient know that two days are not equal, one day pain, the other not, and the main difference is in the self-reward. Feelings of pleasure. A warm hand.

Or take a re-organization at job. Never have so many been so sick.

Or, why are women more sick than men, on the general spoken. Is it the hormones or their social positions? Their ability to get rewardness for what they are doing?

Take the placebo-effect. "For most of us, the "placebo effect" is synonymous with the power of positive thinking; it works because you believe you're taking a real drug - used in clinical trials as controls for potential new medications. In fact, data on placebos is so compelling that many American physicians (one study estimates 50 percent) secretly give placebos to unsuspecting patients."

50% is a high number. And it can be strengthen actively to a lot more.
Ted Kaptchuk with colleagues explored whether or not the power of placebos can be harnessed honestly and respectfully. And got surprised.

To do this, 80 patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were divided into two groups: one group, the controls, received no treatment, while the other group received a regimen of placebos—honestly described as "like sugar pills"—which they were instructed to take twice daily.

"Not only did we make it absolutely clear that these pills had no active ingredient and were made from inert substances, but we actually had 'placebo' printed on the bottle," says Kaptchuk. "We told the patients that they didn't have to even believe in the . Just take the pills."

For a three-week period, the patients were monitored. By the end of the trial, nearly twice as many patients treated with the placebo reported adequate symptom relief as compared to the control group (59 percent vs. 35 percent). Also, on other outcome measures, patients taking the placebo doubled their rates of improvement to a degree roughly equivalent to the effects of the most powerful IBS medications.

Placebo worked better than medicine! Why?
Kaptchuk: "these findings suggest that rather than mere positive thinking, there may be significant benefit to the very performance of medical ritual. I'm excited about studying this further. Placebo may work even if patients knows it is a ."

I also remember a report telling about a comparision between a very good doctor, with high degree of knowledge, but a rude manner, and a gentle doctor, not so good. Guess who got better results? The gentle one of course. Why?

Could it be about rewardness, dignity and respect? To be seen as humans?

What about homeopathy? It sometimes contain absolutely no effective molecule. Only sugar pills. Is it placebo?

Even animals and small children that don't know they eat it get better. Can it be placebo, or information as they say? What is information?

Jaques Benveniste (at former digibio) and others showed that homeopathy works, but he was a victim for a cruel game and died before his time. James Randi is a Magi and knew maybe very well what he was doing? Should we rather believe such a man?

Pitkänen has done much to explain the memory.

Everyone can see how love works its miracles, but the same remedy works also elsewhere, maybe less dramatically. And rejection from a loved one feels like pain, and is in reality nocebo, the precise opposite.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Take care of each other. Show love, dignity and compassion (about compassion - it can be done in bad ways, and in good ways).

This post was maybe inspired of self-pity, sitting alone sick at home at Christmas Eve. No Santa Claus showed up. I have not been so kind, I know. Sorry.

I thought to write about how he could do it, 'scientifically' :) - maybe next Christmas.

6 kommentarer:

  1. Neuroskeptic blog writes about, When is a Placebo not a Placebo,

    Prozak doesn't work but something DOES WORK-placebos.

    placebo pills, something like sugar pills, have been shown in rigorous clinical testing to produce significant mind-body self-healing processes.

    We already know that the placebo effect is very strong in IBS, a disease which is, at least in many cases, psychosomatic.

    on the paper by Kaptchuck et al: Placebos without Deception.

  2. Matti has written a new text on homeopathic function. DNA Waves and Water.
    inspired by
    DNA Waves and Water, by L. Montagnier, J. Aissa, E. Del Giudice, C. Lavallee, A. Tedeschi, and G. Vitiello. Vitiello is a physicist from Salerno, with a long interest in quantum biology, good articles almost all, and much over 100 scientific papers, most of them on theoretic physic, also DE and neutrinos, ALICE at Cern.
    Montagnier is a Nobelist. Search google on electromagnetism virus, and something interesting shows up. Memory?

    See also Mattis blogposts

    And sadly also Lubos, where I 'discuss' with brainwashed people

  3. The Stanford study showing the painkilling effect of love. Reporter Claudia Cowan correctly notes that clinicians can't go around prescribing love affairs for patients in pain, but researcher Sean Mackey, MD, PhD, said engaging in other meaningful activities might also prove to be effective at painkilling.

    the areas of the brain activated by intense love are the same areas that drugs use to reduce pain.
    The problem is, this phase of love rarely lasts longer than a year or two and often gets replaced by bone-crushing pain.
    The next possibility for research is using drugs - opioid blockers - to shut down the effects of love on these brain pathways -ah, drugs against love - what a relief :)

    a study published June 28 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Eisenberger’s team used an fMRI machine to scan the brains of 17 women as they received brief, stinging shocks while looking at photographs of long-term romantic partners, strangers or objects.

    Just as Eisenberger expected, pain didn’t feel so bad when women looked at their lovers. Earlier research has described that phenomenon. But unlike earlier research, Eisenberger could look directly at test subjects’ brains as this happened.

    She found that decreases in pain appeared related to activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain linked to feelings of safety and reassurance.

    Eisenberger’s hypothesis that a loved one’s presence diminishes pain by producing such feelings, rather than simply stimulating neural award systems, as is seen among euphoric couples in the early stages of relationships.

    According to Eisenberger, this ameliorative effect may be the diametrical opposite of a phenomenon in which seeing a picture of spiders or snakes makes pain feel worse.

    “Loved ones, attachment figures, may act as prepared safety signals, as individuals who over evolutionary history have favored our survival.”

    Talismans? They produce feelings??? which is the actual function of them. A substitute for thoughts?


    "There’s every reason to think SSRIs blunt your ability to fall and stay in love," said Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University biological anthropologist who has pioneered the modern science of love.

    For some people, of course, sexual side effects are an acceptable price to pay for curing debilitating depression. But as antidepressant use becomes more common, extending beyond full-blown clinical depression to disorders like anxiety and, in some cases, insomnia, the possibility of love-stunting is troubling.

    During sex, a cocktail of hormones is released that appears to play important roles in fostering romantic attachment within the brain. Take away sex, and romantic love can dwindle. But this is just part of the problem, say Fisher and University of Virginia psychiatrist James Thomson.

    Dopamine also appears central to the neurobiology of romantic love and attachment, conditions that Fisher believes to be affected by — but ultimately distinct from — sexual love and its effects. She and Thomson say that SSRIs may do more than cause sexual dysfunction: They also suppress romance.

    "There are all sorts of unconscious systems in our brain that we use to negotiate romantic love and romantic attraction," said Thomson. "If these drugs cause conscious sexual side effects, we’d argue that there are going to be side effects that are not conscious."

    According to Fisher, humans have three distinct but interconnected love-related brain systems: one for sex, another for attachment and another for romantic love. This is still hypothetical — nobody knows exactly what love does in the brain — but Fisher has been a pioneering researcher on romantic love’s neurobiology, and dopamine indeed appears important.

    Drug companies are currently designing next-generation antidepressants that raise dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels simultaneously, and might have fewer romantic side effects.