Autosuggestion has a great influence on our mental tone, but also our physiological state. Focusing on the benefits you can bring a drug, on how well you feel after administration, increasing its therapeutic effect and patient satisfaction. At least, that’s the case when we are dealing with one of the most annoying symptoms – pain.
Oxford University recently presented results of a study that tested how 22 volunteers respond to administration of a potent analgesic (remifentanil) while asking the patient to believe that medicine will increase, decrease or will have no effect on pain . Volunteers are applied to painful heat stimuli to the legs and were asked to give a rating level of pain experienced. Then all the volunteers received remifentanil.
When patients were told that they will be given a painkiller, they reported a 41% decrease in pain intensity. But when doctors were telling them that volunteers tricked analgesic administration was discontinued, all volunteers reported back pain intensity felt before the test, although they were still under treatment. Trial results were accompanied by those of brain MRI scans. The latter showed an increase of activity anterior cingulate cortex (brain area involved in processing emotions) when volunteers are expected to decrease pain intensity and a reduction in activity in this brain area when they expected to feel pain.
The results are amazing, given that in the case of a painkiller so potent as remifentanil, autosuggestion can increase or completely annihilate its therapeutic effects. Moreover, the future could quantify the placebo effect induced by the mind of each individual through a simple analysis of brain scans, this can lead to individualization of treatment application depending on the patient’s psychological factor