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Health Discoveries in Movement Disorders, Parkinsons etc

Parkinsons disease foundation will support studies on placebo effect

December 31, 2009
A well-known Parkinson's disease research foundation has agreed to fund two studies related to the placebo effect on patients living with Parkinson's.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, named for the actor who was diagnosed with the disease, will fund an area of research that has been "of growing interest to Parkinson's researchers," according to the foundation.

The placebo effect – when patients receive an inert substance, yet experience benefits of active treatment – is believed to have an impact on Parkinson's because it involves the dopamine system, which the disease causes to degenerate. Dopamine, a chemical substance that transmits nerve impulses through the brain, is believed to make individuals more receptive to incentives and rewards.

One study will evaluate the response to placebos based in part on patient characteristics such as optimism, social conformity and expectations. A second project will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view how brain activity changes in Parkinson's patients when they are given either a treatment or a placebo.

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, has a clinical trial on Parkinson's under way – the creatine vs. placebo study – in which researchers hope to determine whether the drug creatine slows the progression of Parkinson's disease.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19536068-ADNFCR
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