Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) & the Placebo Response
Target Audience: Clinicians & researchers addressing acute or chronic pain
As a result of participating in this activity, learners will be better able to:
Apply an understanding of the roles that conditioning and expectations play in modulating the pain experience to the care of persons with chronic pain
Understanding the Placebo Response Through fMRI
Tor D. Wager, PhD
Fadel Zeidan, PhD
The construction and modulation of pain is mediated by sensory, cognitive, and affective factors, rendering the treatment of chronic pain difficult and often a financial burden.
Mindfulness meditation significantly attenuates pain through multiple, unique mechanisms.
Placebo effects are beneficial effects that are attributable to the brain–mind responses to the context in which a treatment is delivered rather than to the specific actions of the drug. They are mediated by diverse processes — including learning, expectations and social cognition — and can influence various clinical and physiological outcomes related to health.
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Amanzio, M., & Benedetti, F. (1999). Neuropharmacological dissection of placebo analgesia: expectation-activated opioid systems versus conditioning-activated specific subsystems. Journal of Neuroscience, 19(1), 484-494
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Wager, T. D., & Atlas, L. Y. (2015). The neuroscience of placebo effects: connecting context, learning and health. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(7), 403
Zeidan, F., & Vago, D. (2016). Mindfulness meditation–based pain relief: a mechanistic account. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1373(1), 114
Su, I. W., Wu, F. W., Liang, K. C., Cheng, K. Y., Hsieh, S. T., Sun, W. Z., & Chou, T. L. (2016). Pain perception can be modulated by mindfulness training: a resting-state fMRI study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 570
McCracken, L. M. (1998). Learning to live with the pain: acceptance of pain predicts adjustment in persons with chronic pain. Pain, 74(1), 21-27
Tetreault, P., Mansour, A., Vachon-Presseau, E., Schnitzer, T. J., Apkarian, A. V., & Baliki, M. N. (2016). Brain connectivity predicts placebo response across chronic pain clinical trials. PLoS Biology, 14(10), e1002570.
Diana L. Taylor Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience,
Director, Brain Mechanisms of Pain & Health Lab,
UC San Diego
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