Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Intranasal application of oxytocin appears to enhance placebo response

Date:
October 22, 2013
Source:
American Medical Association (AMA)
Summary:
A study has been conducted to test whether oxytocin enhances the placebo response in an experimental placebo analgesia model.

The hormone oxytocin may mediate processes such as empathy, trust, and social learning. These are key elements of the patient-physician relationship, which is an important mediator of placebo responses, according to background information in a Research Letter appearing in the October 23/30 issue of JAMA. Simon Kessner, of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany, and colleagues conducted a study to test whether oxytocin enhances the placebo response in an experimental placebo analgesia model.

Between January and September 2012, the researchers randomly assigned 80 healthy male volunteers to 40 IU of intranasal oxytocin or saline. The researchers and participants were blinded to study drug identity. After 45 minutes, placebo analgesia was assessed using the following standard technique. Two identical inert ointments were applied to 2 sites on each participant's forearm. The ointments were described as an anesthetic that reduces pain (placebo) and an inert control cream (control). In the 15 minutes following application that the participant expected the anesthetic to take effect, the researchers calibrated the intensity at which a 20-second painful heat stimulus was perceived by each individual to rate as a 60 on a scale ranging from 0 (no pain) to 100 (unbearable pain). During the subsequent test phase, a series of 10 of those calibrated stimuli was applied to each of the 2 sites in randomized order. The primary outcome was the placebo analgesic response, defined as the reduction of perceived pain intensity on the placebo site compared with the control site in the oxytocin and saline groups.

Despite identical stimulation on both sites, the difference in pain ratings at the placebo and pain sites were greater in the oxytocin group than in the saline group due to lower pain ratings at the placebo site.

"To our knowledge, our study provides the first experimental evidence that placebo responses can be pharmacologically enhanced by the application of intranasal oxytocin," the authors write. "Further studies are needed to replicate our findings in larger clinical populations, identify the underlying mechanisms, and explore moderating variables such as sex or aspects of patient-physician communication."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Medical Association (AMA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon Kessner; Christian Sprenger, MD; Nathalie Wrobel, MSc; Katja Wiech, PhD; Ulrike Bingel, MD. Effect of Oxytocin on Placebo Analgesia: A Randomized Study. JAMA, October 2013

Cite This Page:

American Medical Association (AMA). "Intranasal application of oxytocin appears to enhance placebo response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022170630.htm>.
American Medical Association (AMA). (2013, October 22). Intranasal application of oxytocin appears to enhance placebo response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022170630.htm
American Medical Association (AMA). "Intranasal application of oxytocin appears to enhance placebo response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022170630.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins