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Placebo Effects – Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease

Fabrizio Benedetti


One of the most widespread words in medicine is the placebo and placebo effect, although it is not always clear what it means exactly. Recent progress in biomedical research has allowed a better clarification of the placebo effect. This is an active psychobiological phenomenon which takes place in the patient's brain and that is capable of influencing both the course of a disease and the response to a therapy. The psychosocial context around the patient is crucial to placebo effects, for example the doctor's words and attitudes, and this may have a profound impact on the patient's brain which, ... More

Keywords: placebo, nocebo, biological mechanisms, psychosocial context, expectation, conditioning, learning, disease, therapeutic intervention

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780199559121
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559121.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Fabrizio Benedetti, author
Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin Medical School, Turin, Italy and National Institute of Neuroscience, Turin, Italy