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Placebo EffectsUnderstanding the mechanisms in health and disease$
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Fabrizio Benedetti

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559121.001.0001

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How to run a placebo study: A closer look into complex experimental designs

How to run a placebo study: A closer look into complex experimental designs

(p.267) Chapter 11 How to run a placebo study: A closer look into complex experimental designs
Placebo Effects

Fabrizio Benedetti

Oxford University Press

To study a placebo effect requires specific designs that cannot be performed in the classic clinical trial setting. Complex experimental designs are particularly necessary when one wants to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms, for example by means of agonist and antagonist drugs. Complex pharmacological designs have used up to twelve experimental arms (groups) in order to answer specific questions. To study the role of learning in placebo effects, for example conditioning, one needs to control the associations between conditioned and unconditioned stimuli both in the experimental and in the clinical setting. As to the open-hidden paradigm, several approaches are possible to hide a therapy from the subject's view, so that he is totally unaware that a treatment is being performed.

Keywords:   experimental design, clinical trial, experimental arms, learning studies, open-hidden paradigm

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