Placebo and Pain

1st Edition

From Bench to Bedside

Editors: Luana Colloca Magne Flaten Karin Meissner
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123979285
eBook ISBN: 9780123979315
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st September 2013
Page Count: 312
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The placebo effect continues to fascinate scientists, scholars, and clinicians, resulting in an impressive amount of research, mainly in the field of pain. While recent experimental and clinical studies have unraveled salient aspects of the neurobiological substrates and clinical relevance of pain and placebo analgesia, an authoritative source remained lacking until now. By presenting and integrating a broad range of research, Placebo and Pain enhances readers’ knowledge about placebo and nocebo effects, reexamines the methodology of clinical trials, and improves the therapeutic approaches for patients suffering from pain.

Review for Placebo and Pain:
“This ambitious book is the first comprehensive and unified presentation of the placebo and nocebo phenomena in the area of pain. Written by the international leading experts in the field, the book provides an accurate up-to-date [work] on placebo and pain dealing with current perspectives and future challenging issues.”--Ted Kaptchuk, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Key Features

  • Contains historical aspects of the placebo effect 
  • Discusses biological and psychological mechanisms of placebo analgesic responses
  • Reviews implications of the placebo effect for clinical research and pain management
  • Includes methodological and ethical aspects of the placebo effect


Researchers and graduate students in pain neuroscience, neurology, neurosurgery, pain management and anesthesiology

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Historical Aspects of Placebo Analgesia



Definitions and Conceptualization

Placebos as Controls

Placebos as a Treatment

Placebo in the Early 20th Century

Placebo as More Than Just an Experimental Control

The Emergence of the Study of Placebo Mechanisms

Using History to Further Explore Placebo Analgesia


Chapter 2. Neurochemistry of Placebo Analgesia: Opioids, Cannabinoids and Cholecystokinin



Some Types of Placebo Analgesia are Mediated by Endogenous Opioids

Endocannabinoids are Involved in Some Types of Placebo Analgesia

Nocebo Hyperalgesia is Mediated by Cholecystokinin



Chapter 3. Placebo Analgesia in Rodents




The Placebo Effect in Animals

Studying Placebo Analgesia in Animal Models

Dissection of Placebo Analgesia in Mice

Placebo Analgesia Affects the Behavioral Despair Tests in Mice

The Opioid Receptors Involved in the Placebo Response in Rats

The Pros and Cons of Studying Placebo in the Animal Model

Conclusion and Future Directions


Chapter 4. Molecular Mechanisms of Placebo Responses in Humans




Placebo-Induced Activation of Regional Endogenous Opioid Neurotransmission

Dopaminergic Mechanisms in the Formation of Placebo Analgesic Effects

Theories of Placebo Analgesia and Placebo-Induced Activation of Regional Endogenous Opioid Neurotransmission

Personality Predictors of Placebo-Induced Activation of Regional Endogenous Opioid Neurotransmission



Chapter 5. How does EEG Contribute to Our Understanding of the Placeb


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© Academic Press 2014
Academic Press
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About the Editor

Luana Colloca

Affiliations and Expertise

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Magne Flaten

Professor of Biological Psychology and Depatment Chair of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Dr. Flaten’s reserach focuses on biological psychology, psychology of learning, behavioral medicine, and pain. He serves as a board member for European Psychologist and European Journal of Behavior Analysis and served as Chair for the Organizing Committee of the International Conference on Imaging in Neuroscience 2007-2009. Dr. Flaten chaired the 2011 symposium on placebo and pain at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Psychology, University of Tromsø, Norway

Karin Meissner

Affiliations and Expertise

Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Muenchen, Germany


"…this book functions as a valuable source for developing knowledge and tools to improve educational and treatment approaches…What makes this book outstanding is its arrangement of concepts in an easy-to-read, interesting format. While other books may present similar topics and themes, this one is unprecedented because it is thorough, current, and clinically relevant and demonstrates the authority of its authors in an appealing manner.", March 21, 2014
"Colloca…and coeditors Flaten and Meissner present 27 chapters of research examining the placebo effect on pain and the key mechanistic advances and impact of these findings for clinical researchers and health practitioners. Neuroscience, psychology, pain, and other specialists from Europe, Australia, the US, and China describe the mechanisms underlying placebo-induced mediation and modulation of pain, including historical aspects, neurochemistry, animal models,…"--Reference & Research Book News, December 2013