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The molecular basis for the placebo effect 

The molecular basis for the placebo effect
The molecular basis for the placebo effect

Lesley Bromley

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date: 19 September 2021

The landmark paper discussed in this chapter is ‘The neurobiology of placebo analgesia: From endogenous opioids to cholecystokinin’, published by Benedetti and Amanzio in 1997. This major review considered the placebo and nocebo effect in a more scientific framework compared to previous treatise of a nebulous concept whose only role is to act as a comparator for controlled trials. By expounding robust evidence, Benedetti and Amanzio added credence to the placebo effect, with not just psychological but also physiological data, acknowledging it as an effective therapeutic action. Furthermore, the importance of endogenous opioids and cholecystokinin in the mechanism of placebo were put into sharp relief, giving an intuitive basis and scientific validation to this effect.

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