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Could the Placebo Effect Help Heal Your Brain Injury?

Could the Placebo Effect Help Heal Your Brain Injury?Could the Placebo Effect Help Heal Your Brain Injury?

I’m Ed Smith, an Antioch Brain Injury Lawyer. Every year, my office meets new clients who are bravely coping with serious brain injuries suffered due to the negligence of others. In many cases, these individuals incurred their injuries during a car accident.

While most clients meet regularly with their medical doctors to address all their brain injury treatments – we think it’s important to also keep up with new studies offering additional psychological and behavioral insights for improving a patient’s overall functioning.

Can Patients Choose Behaviors That Can Lessen the Harm of Their Brain Injuries?

Most brain injuries are complex and require a physician’s ability to look at how the damaged brain may negatively impact a patient’s ability to function beneficially — with a limited amount of pain. Doctors are also best prepared to help injured patients decide between various surgeries, treatments, and medications. However, new studies like the one recently completed by CU Boulder neuroscientists offer new insights into how some patients may be able to improve their conditions by the thoughts and activities they choose.

While this entire field of inquiry is still relatively new – studying whether people can use their thoughts and behaviors to heal (emotionally) more rapidly from specific events – it’s clearly one worth examining in greater detail.

Just Exactly What Is the Placebo Effect and How Can It Affect a Person?

In medicine, a placebo is a substance that can resemble medication, although it contains no active ingredients designed to address any known condition. Studies have shown that when one group of volunteers with a known condition are given a placebo and another group are given a drug designed to aggressively treat the condition, many of those taking the placebo will still report an improved medical status. Initially, these types of results were thought to just document how “suggestible” many of us are regarding medical treatments and that they have no real merit.

Placebo Providing Hope?

Fortunately, neuroscientists at CU Boulder decided to try and determine if giving people a placebo drug might provide them with hope – and help them unleash useful brain chemicals and other physical responses that could improve their conditions. The Boulder study involved working with volunteers who had just suffered recent romantic break-ups.

Watch Youtube VideoPlacebo effect can help heal a broken heart, CU Boulder study. In the video below you will learn how researchers went about testing whether or not a placebo could mend a broken heart.

40 Volunteers Tested

The 40 Boulder volunteers agreed to undergo MRI machine scans of their brains while being shown photos of their “exes” and a friend. They were also subjected to the infliction of moderate physical pain in one arm. One group of the participants were given a saline nose spray and told that it could alleviate their pain – the other group was given the spray without further information.

The Results

Upon studying the images of the two groups, the neuroscientists concluded that a person’s positive thoughts and expectations can play a direct role in their reports of improved outlook on how they feel. Although it has not yet been proven, a longer article on this study posted on the CU Boulder website suggests that the improved physical feelings and upbeat outlook may indicate that taking positive steps toward trying to improve our own circumstances may play a role in releasing key substances in the brain that can help us physically feel better.

Worth Further Study

When you think about all the wounded veterans who take part in competitive sports challenges – this outlook seems quite valid and clearly worth further study.  Surely those with brain injuries should be encouraged to move forward in their lives with hope – toward goals of their own choosing.

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Attorney Ed Smith

Antioch Brain Injury Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Antioch Brain Injury Lawyer. If you, or someone close has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to the negligence of another person, please call me at (925) 428-5220 for free, friendly advice. Or, if calling from out of town, dial toll free at (800) 404-5400 to reach me.

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I’m proud to be included as a top trial lawyer among the Million Dollar Advocates. The forum is made up of trial lawyers with $1 million or multi-million dollar verdicts.

See some of my Verdicts and Settlements here.

Sources of Could the Placebo Effect Help Heal Your Brain Injury? ~

Placebo effect can help heal a broken heart, CU Boulder Study Suggests:

When Love Hurts, A Placebo Can Help:

Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons

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