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The placebo: From personal connection to clinical deception to neurochemical reception

15 April 1994


Historically, the mind arid the body have been approached as, separate fields of study. In recent years, research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology has revealed bidirectional interactions between the brain, the immune system, and the endocrine system. These findings appear to challenge the traditional separation of these systems. These interactions connect parts of the brain associated with emotion and memory to parts of the body involved in extensive physiologic process including the immune response. It is proposed that placebo responding takes place as a result of these bidirectional interactions. A hypothesis outlines the potential mechanisms that may result in placebo responding, both from a psychological and a physiological perspective. Placebo responding should not be regarded as the result of deceptive measures, but rather as the result of a positive therapeutic alliance.


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