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Posts Tagged ‘radio lab

The Nothing That Really Does Cure Anything (almost)

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On a similar note to the previous post regarding homeopathy, here are some interesting resources on the mysterious and wonderful placebo effect.

In 2002, the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute published study results that revealed a surprising difference between the patients receiving a placebo and the patients on the medication being tested.  Of those receiving the actual medication, a little more than fifty percent experienced a reduction in their depression symptoms, while thirty eight percent of the placebo recipients also saw an improvement in their symptoms.  The surprising revelation in the study was the fact that those patients who responded to the placebo experienced improved brain activity in a region of the brain that none of the other patients experienced, whether they were on the medication or placebo.  In fact those on the actual medication experienced diminished activity in that region of the brain.

You can hear a brief report on the study here.

The full text of the study is also available.
Radio Lab did a show on placebos that, as always, was great.  If you listen to only one thing linked to on this post, it should be Radio Lab.

If you are not all placeboed out, then you may enjoy listening to the very interest, uncut interview between Richard Dawkins and Professor of Psychology, Nicholas Humphry, in which placebos are discussed in their conversation about alternative medicine.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Written by Aaron Nee

April 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Thumbs on Faces, Amputated Limbs Moved With Mirrors and More Wonders of the Brain

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There is a fascinating lecture by Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran available to view at Princeton University’s site.  Ramachandran’s work has been discussed on episodes of Radio Lab the most recent of which is a Radio Lab short titled Do I Know You.

In the Princeton lecture, Ramachandran discusses several fascinating developments in neuroscience including treating phantom limb pains suffered by amputees and the senses of amputated hands remapping onto the face.

I also highly recommend the 2006 episode of Radio Lab, Where Am I, that discuses phantom limbs and other wonders of the brain.

Written by Aaron Nee

April 2, 2010 at 1:06 am