Skeptic News: Placebo Personality

20121119-074734.jpgFrom: COSMOS

LONDON: A person’s resilience may reflect their ability to deal with pain and make them more likely to have a positive response to a placebo or fake drug, suggest findings from a U.S. study.

The research team, led by University of Michigan researcher Jon-Kar Zubieta, said their findings could be used to help scientists reduce variability in the results from clinical trials, which commonly include a placebo group, and explain why some participants have greater responses to placebo than others.

Writing in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Zubieta and co-authors suggest that the personality traits they found were associated with pain relief after receiving a placebo drug could also pinpoint individuals who are able to cope better in stressful situations.

Extroversion predicted a positive response to placebo in patients with irritable bowel syndrome in one previous study, and optimism and anxiety were linked with a positive and negative pain-killing response, respectively, to placebo in another trial.

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