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SciTech Attitude can Influence Effectiveness of Medical Treatment, Study Shows

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    February 16, 2011

    Attitude can influence effectiveness of medical treatment, study shows

    Joseph Hall
    Health Reporter

    When it comes to medical therapies, disposition is as potent as drugs, a new study shows.

    In first-of-its-kind research, German scientists have used brain imaging scans to show that a patient’s positive outlooks towards treatments can actually double their effectiveness. A gloomy attitude can nearly negate any benefits.

    “It’s been a very long-standing clinical observation that patients’ beliefs and expectations affect how any treatment works,” says Dr. Ulrike Bingel, the lead study author.

    “What we’ve shown is that this is a real physical effect,” says Bingel, a pain specialist and neurologist at the University of Hamburg.

    The work shows that instilling a positive attitude in patients can vastly increase the effectiveness of medical treatments, she says.
    The study was released Wednesday by the journal Science Translational Medicine.

    Past work on this outlook effect in medicine has relied on patients’ self reported assessment of a treatment’s benefits, Bingel says.

    But these subjective reports could often mask the true effects of outlook because patients might often tell their physicians what they think they’d like to hear, she says.

    “You can think a patient wants to report an increased benefit to please the physician,” Bingel says.

    To get around these subjective reporting doubts, Bingel’s team turned to functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to peer into the brain areas that regulate pain while a drug was active.

    The researchers took 22 healthy students and used heat to apply pain to their forearms. The students were then administered an opioid-based pain medication under three different conditions.

    One set of students were not told they would receive the drug, another group was told the pain would be reduced and a third that the pain might become worse.

    “Then we used fMRI to have some objective proof of the (painkiller’s) benefit,” Bingel says.

    Training their scans on the area of the brain that processes pain intensity, the researchers could judge the effectiveness of the drug on each different group.

    “We found that with the positive treatment expectancy that the effect of the (pain killer) was enhanced,” Bingel says.

    “It was in fact doubled, which was quite surprising. Doubled just by positive expectancy. . . as if you have two drugs”

    For the students who believed that there would be increased suffering — something many real patients fear ahead of treatment — scans showed the drug had no effect.

    “It was completely abolished, as if they were not given any drug at all,” Bingel says.

    Bingel says that the attitudinal effect shown with pain killer should apply to many different types of drugs.

    Indeed, earlier experiments using self reporting techniques have shown similar outlook effects with drugs for depression and anxiety.

    Because the brain is so involved in regulation of the immune system, the same effect might also be expected for cancer chemotherapies as well, Bingel says.

    “I’m convinced a very similar mechanism could be applied to these situations,” she says.

    “The next step is to look at different systems and look at how different drugs combine with expectation and experience.”

    Just what how attitude plays a physiological role in enhancing drugs and other therapies has yet to be determined, Bingel says.

    But, she says, the study opens up the possibility that drugs could be tailor made to work with the specific brain areas that positive attitudes spark up to enhance relief or healing.

    The challenge, she says, is to now find ways to instill optimism in patients ahead of treatments.

    source: http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/940027--attitude-can-influence-effectiveness-of-medical-treatment-study-shows?bn=1
     
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  3. Caspian

    Caspian
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    It sounds like their re-describing the placebo effect?
     
  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    YES its ALL in the MIND. IF the MIND fights..it wins...if not ....
     
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  5. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Science is going to continuously keep investigating centuries old known wisdom and create more dangerous weapons to destroy the world. What a dichotomy!

    In Sikhism,


    • "Sikho, hamayshaan chardih Kalah wich raho"

    • Translate "Dear Sikhs, always stay in high spirits"
      • It is more than a slogan for one's well being, it is a fountain of ever energizing self and the good effects there from,
        • High spirits of body and mind
      • Go find it in Hinduism, Islam, Budhism or Christanity mundahuglol
    • "Naam khumari Nanakah, charih raveh din raat"
      • Translate, " Nanak, may the gurbani's essence prevail in me day and night"
    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  6. Caspian

    Caspian
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    Come on. Give science more credit then that. I would like to see any of your centuries old wisdom come into play on the computer you used to write your opinion. Science rules! :p

    Quite frankly, I understand the anti-science stance many christians, jews and muslims take. However, I dont get why sikhs would take a similar position. Any religion of the 21 century and beyond must whole heartedly embrace science. Or—if you're indeed right (and science causes nothing but eventual destruction)—they must wholeheartedly embrace our eventual nuclear-powered-robot-overlords :p

    All hail C3PO !
     
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  7. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Caspian ji I am far from being against science. However one need not wait for science to apply some common sense. I definitely would say this approach taken to the extreme is also full of pitfalls. Some kind of balance.

    For example,

    • Why do we have to wait for science to declare the following useful,
      • Ginger
      • Turmeric (in food and as cure in poultice for cuts with in fection)
      • Garlic
      • Aniseeds
      • Organic farming
      • Fruits like (Pomegrantes, Mangos, Oranges, Guava that I used to eat non-stop as a child straight from the trees)
      • Linseeds
      • Daals (Pulses versus meat)
      • Alovera (always used for cuts and bruises) from plant at home
      • List can be built to be pretty long
    • Goes without saying science has a very long and much longer list
    By the way it has been equally well proven and well recognized by doctors without taboos that mind has an unknown but very significant impact on how people react to illness and recover from it.
    - One person may jump into the bed at a first sneeze while the other may go jogging!

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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    #6 Ambarsaria, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  8. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I think all one has to do is use Google Scholar and use the search terms "scientific research ______________. One will find scientific journals and bibliographies of pharmaceutical studies being conducted for many of these items.

    Right here at SPN we have this list for tumeric http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/healt...c-the-golden-dust-of-ayurveda.html#post106943

    There is more merit to the claims about the medicinal benefits of herbs than to theories about God and creation coming from Quantum Soup Theory. Yet, the "scientifically" inclined always love to quote QST.
     
  9. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    It is mind boggling where we are at and check the following as these are Scientifically approved,
    Example 1:

    My recipe for Daal/Beans:

    • Get fresh beans
    • Wash them clean with distilled water (I wish) or water with allowed contaminants according to Science)
    • Add salt and boil in a Tinned utensil till soft.
    • Get fresh: Tomatoes, Chillies, Garlic, Peppers, Onions for the Tarka
      • Bring bit of Ghee to fry the Tarka ingredients
      • Add to Daal/Beans when just browned
    • Bring the Daal to boil for 5 minutes
    • Make fresh unlavened bread and enjoy with fresh Onions, Tomatoes salad
    Scientific equivalent:

    • Open a can of baked beans in tomato sauce
      • List the ingredients
        • Make sure these are FDA approved additives
      • Add half can of preserved tomatoes in a pan and add onion flakes, mexican chilli sauce and salt to taste and bring to light brown
      • Add to beans and heat for 5 minutes
      • Enjoy with previously preserved commercially available a packet of perserved rotis with previously ready salad in a box from Grocery store
      • What did you eat ... provide a complete list!
    You know I rather never have the second choice if I don't have to. But to ensure food abundance for all do we have a choice!

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  10. Caspian

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    I find that religious/spiritual people also make a big deal out of quantum mechanics. Deepak chopra and the people behind the documentary "What the bleep do we know" just to name two.

    Anyways, with regards to Ambarsaria's point.

    Its not like were waiting for scientists to approve of certain things that have been known to be beneficial to us for a very long time. What were doing is finding out how or why these things are beneficial. I.E. What is the active ingredient? Can we synthesize it better? Such is the case with many products.

    I mean surely you would not take an aspirin pill and say "Why has it took science so long to acknowledge the benefits of a plant that was widely available and used for centuries." What science did was 1) Verify that it is beneficial and 2) make it even more effecient in the form of a tablet.

    I can see how some people look at science and go "it is just applied common sense" however in University science classes (particularily psychology classes) we make a point of emphasizing what we call "Hindsight Bias." Which is what I think is effecting your outlook on scientific results.

    In this case, If science was to find evidence in favour of positive effects that the mind seemingly inacts on its own depending on its state. You people are quick to say "well that was obvious, we have known that for years" but it really isnt as obvious as it seems.

    For example, If I was to link you guys to a study that suggested Social psychologists have found that, whether choosing friends or falling in love, we are most attracted to people whose traits are different from our own. There seems to be wisdom in the old saying "Opposites attract."

    You guys would most likely say "Well duh, that was obvious. Its common sense"

    However, If i was to link you guys to a study that suggested Social psychologists have found that, whether choosing friends or falling in love, we are most attracted to people whose traits are similar to our own. There seems to be wisdom in the old saying "Birds of a feather flock together."

    You guys would most likely have said the same thing. That its obvious and its just common sense so why are we waiting for science to verify this. When the reality of the situation is anything but. It is not common sense although both outcomes appear to validate some preconcieved notions we share—we feel as if we have known this for sure all along.

    (The above two situations were actually used in social pyschology experiments and found that a majority of people [somewhere around 78%] are likely to suggest that the outcome was obvious and common sense—despite the fact that both situations are contradictory).

    For every single thing you can list and suggest that science essentially wasted its time trying to verify the benefits of this thing because the benefits had already been known for centuries. I can go on to list twice as many things that were thought to be beneficial but proved not to be by science... or simply by common sense if you will :p.


    • Drinking Cow pee in India
    • Raping albino africans in the hopes to rid oneself of aids
    • Human sacrifice to appease the gods
    I mean the list really does go on and in my mind the majority of religious traditions fall under this list. The list that science has proven to be unbeneficial. The very few religious traditions (like meditation) that fall in the opposite list—the "good list" if you will. Those things you cant just scoff at and say "why are we waiting for science to verify this, we have known this for a very long time." Because the simple truth of the matter is that religious practices, in general, have a very poor scientific track record.

    Hindsight Bias can cloud ones perception of Science. Particularily of the psychological and social sciences. Because almost everything (conradictory or not) was common sense at one point or another.
     
  11. Caspian

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    Besides, as scientists, were not interested in the effect so much as we are in the explanation. I mean its great that they got an effect and that they showed that you can diminish the effects of medication if your not in the right state of mind. However, what is more important to us is the explanation of why this occurs. And this is where religion/spirituality falls short—religion/spirtuality are purely concerned with the effect and not the explanation. Science seeks to understand things, not just know of things.

    For example. There is a man who modified a helmet with electro magnets to produce this machine which has been dubbed "the god helmet." It produces very wonderful effects! A majority of people report having an experience when on the "god helmet." Many people even go on to define this experience as spiritual or religious. However when it comes to explaining why this effect occurs—the inventor uses some wishy washy logic, dubious mathamatics, random references to plank constant along with a healthy dash of quantum mechanics. So despite the fact that he is observing and cataloging a wonderful effect—you cannot take him or his theories seriously until his explanation becomes sound. Indeed, people who try to duplicate his results fail to do so and his explanations for why others fail are even more dubious (blaming the other groups of using computers that are too brand new or using windows instead of linux as if it would make a huge difference?).

    You not only need to verify/produce the effect. But you need a good theory too, so explanation is vital. That is the main thing we seek with experiments like the one this thread is about.

    So tell me, can you provide a common sense explanation for why this effect happens (with regards to the original study of this thread)? An explanation that has been known for centuries? Probably not, or else we wouldnt be doing the experiments.

    Science Rules :p

    Btw, heres a link to the "God Helmet" if you guys are interested. It really is amazing the effects they get from it—if only he had a better explanation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet
     
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  12. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Caspian ji

    That is exactly what I am talking about when I put "scientifically inclined" in quotation marks.

    We may be in agreement on this point. On the other hand, I am not sure why religion should have a scientific track record.
    Religious practices have proved to be a turn-off to most people who are not seeking formulas for truth, justice, and admission to a final reward. And yet for others, religion as opposed to religious practices, fills a gap that science cannot fill, and they are not looking for formulas. I realize that does not represent the majority.
     
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  13. Caspian

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    Lol as you can see in my previous post about the god helmet though. Even scientists can over-rely on quantum mechanics to try an explain an effect. Generally speaking, anytime anyone invoked quantum mechanics in a discussion about conciousness—its safe to say he/she doesnt actually know how or why its working lol. But atleast its working :p
     
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  14. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    Caspian ji I am not a very dogmatic religious person with closed mind and have also science/engineering training as my profession. I am just aghast when I see how blindedly people follow the experts approach in Western culture.

    Generally the experts are Scientists and after decades of counter arguments they come to conclusions with a large set of assumptions attached. We don't get to see many Drug adds in Canada but if you watch the adds originating from USA it is embarrassing to hear the side effects listed or stated in the background while a beautiful girl gets rid of all kind of ailments on the visuals.

    No issues with black magic, what Morar ji Desai (drinking his p** for some yogic or other basis) was doing in New York or anything else.
    I am not a science hater. I am sure there would be a way or scientific basis for what he did but no one knew then. He probably saved some lives for free that could have passed through dehydration of the weak and poor who could not afford anything else.

    Perhaps a knew thread is called for and you being more senior may want to consider starting one if appropriate.

    Just sharing and learning, nothing more nothing less.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  15. Caspian

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    Your point is fair with regards to pharmaceuticals. But much of the science behind pharmaceuticals is now shifting against it. There is an interesting article about the "decline effect" which, in some way, threatens the very foundation of science (it is also very applicable to the drugs you mention; even I am against most of these drugs known as "mood enhancers"). SO perhaps I shall start a new thread about that.
     

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