The Placebo Effect

pewebMedical treatment involves much more than the direct action of the substance or procedure being administered. Treatment is typically administered or suggested by a health professional who communicates – intentionally or otherwise – the aim of the treatment, how likely it is to be effective, and whether or not it might produce side effects. The treatment occurs within a specific context (e.g. hospital, GP ward, at home) and the way one treatment is delivered often differs from another, both in terms of invasiveness and complexity of the treatment regimen. In addition to this, patients often have preconceptions about the likely effects of a treatment based on previous experience, the experience of others, or what they have read or heard in the media. All of these factors are likely to affect what a patient expects from his/her treatment and these expectancies may influence the patient’s actual health outcomes, either positively or negatively, via the placebo effect.

My research in this area uses experimental models to explore the mechanisms of the placebo effect with the aim of being able to enhance positive treatment responses and reduce adverse treatment responses.

Some recent publications in this area include:

Quinn, V. F., Livesey, E. J. & Colagiuri, B. (in press). Latent inhibition reduces nocebo nausea, even without deception. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Quinn, V. Q. & Colagiuri, B. (2016). Sources of placebo-induced relief from nausea: the role of instruction and conditioning. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78: 365-372. ↓pdf

Mills, L., Baokes, R. A., & Colagiuri, B. (2016). Placebo caffeine reduces withdrawal in abstinent coffee drinkers. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30: 388-394. ↓pdf

Tonin, R., Brett, J., & Colagiuri, B. (2016). The effect of infrasound and negative expectations to adverse pathological symptoms from wind farms. Journal of Low Frequency Noise, Vibration, and Active Control, 35: 77-90. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., Schenk, L. A., Kessler, M. D., Dorsey, S. G., & Colloca, L. (2015). The placebo effect: from concepts to genes. Neuroscience, 307:171-190. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., Quinn, V. F., & Colloca, L. (2015). Nocebo hyperalgesia, partial reinforcement, and extinction. Journal of Pain, 16: 995-1004. ↓pdf

Quinn, V. F. & Colagiuri, B. (2015). Placebo interventions for nausea: a systematic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 49: 449-462. ↓pdf

Quinn, V. F., MacDougall, H. G., & Colagiuri, B. (2015). Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation: a new model of placebo-induced nausea. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 78: 484-488. ↓pdf

Neukirch, N. & Colagiuri, B. (2014). The placebo effect, sleep difficulty, and side effects: a balanced placebo model. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. [Online ahead of print] ↓pdf

Au Yeung, Y. S., Colagiuri, B., Lovibond, P. F., Colloca, L. (2014). Partial reinforcement, extinction, and placebo analgesia. Pain, 155: 1110-1117. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., Dhillon, H., Butow, P. N., Jansen, J., Cox, K., & Jacquet, J. (2013). Does assessing patients’ expectancies about chemotherapy side effects influence their occurrence? Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 46: 275-281. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B., McGuinness, K., Boakes, R. A., & Butow, P. (2012). Warning about side effects can increase their occurrence: an experimental model using placebo treatment for sleep difficulty. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 26: 1540-1547. ↓pdf

Colagiuri B. & Boakes, R. A. (2010). Perceived treatment, false feedback, and cognitive performance in two dummy double-blind RCTs. Psychopharmacology, 208: 433-441. ↓pdf

Colagiuri B. & Zachariae, R. (2010). A meta-analysis of expectancy and post-chemotherapy nausea. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 40: 3-14. ↓pdf

Colagiuri, B. (2010). Participant expectancies in randomised double-blind placebo controlled trials: Potential limitations to trial validity. Clinical Trials, 7: 246-255. ↓pdf

Colagiuri B., Morley K., Boakes R. A., Haber, P. (2009). Expectancy in double-blind placebo-controlled trials: An example from alcohol dependence. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 78: 167-171. ↓pdf

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