We probably know from experience that there’s nothing worse in the world but the pain you have to deal with after a failed love affair. Although this is probably one of those ailments which befall under the category ‘physician, heal thyself,’ it would appear that medicine once again comes to our rescue. It might not be what would normally be considered a cure, but at least it makes the pain more bearable.
Can A Broken Heart Be Mended?
A team of researchers from the University of Colorado recently revealed that the best cure for a broken heart is a placebo aka if you think something will make you feel better, it actually does. Leonie Koban, a University of Colorado researcher and the study’s lead author declared that placebo-based treatments had been used for decades to treat all manner of conditions, Parkinson’s included.
Remember that episode from M.A.S.H when they run out of morphine and Potter decides to give sugar pills to soldiers who had bone fractures? Well, M.A.S.H may as well be a work of fiction, but Potter’s words related to Placebos (the mind can do extraordinary things if we allow it) are a scientifically-proven fact.
This new study focused on placebos proves that, when properly employed, they can even cure a broken heart. In fact, Koban declared that placebos could significantly reduce the emotional pain associated with a breakup, especially when it’s unexpected.
For the purpose of this study, which was recently published in the Journal of Neurosciences, Koban and her team of scientists, requested the help of 40 volunteers. As Koban explained, all the participants have experienced breakups in the last six mouths. The volunteers were split into two study groups – the first group received a nasal spray which allegedly contained a powerful analgesic capable of reducing some of the pain associated with a breakout.
Placebos Can Help in Emotional Pain Management
Subsequently, the second group, which also acted as a control group, received only a saline-based solution and, most importantly, they were rightfully informed about the nature of the concoction. After that, the volunteers were subjected to pain tolerance tests, while the team performed fMRI scans. To make matters even more interesting, the team also showed them pictures of their former boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouse.
The results revealed that those who were given the nasal spray reporting feeling better, and did not respond in a negative manner when confronted with pictures of their ex. Koban declared that the brain area responsible for modulating emotions, be them positive or negative, is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
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