Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect.
The Placebo effect consists of several different effects woven together, and the methods of placebo administration may be as important as the administration itself, pills, shot, topical.
For years, scientists have looked at the placebo effect as a nuisance or just a figment of overactive patient imaginations. Now, 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.