Insomnia can be successfully treated with placebo
Confidence of the patient that he is undergoing a course of therapy is sufficient to improve sleep quality.
The results of a study conducted by researchers from the University of Salzburg (Austria), published in the journal Brain.
To participate in the study were involved in 30 patients with insomnia. For several weeks they were treated with the experimental method neural feedback (neurofeedback).
The basis of this method lies unconscious brain training, aimed at the reconfiguration of the electrical activity in certain regions and restoring the balance between different types of brain waves. For this purpose, the electrodes attached to the patient’s head, connected to a computer. The patient looks at the screen and without touching hands to the keyboard, playing a simple video game (e.g., race cars), in which the prize is only possible “correct” range of brain waves. It is believed that helps the brain to select the desired frequency of the waves emitted at winning the “pleasure hormone” dopamine.
Study participants spent 12 therapy sessions, with some patients actually tried to train and to retrain the brain, and the rest just seemed that they do it on screen they were shown the simulation method.
At the end of the experiment, all participants — both from the group of neurofeedback, and of the placebo group stated that they have become much better to sleep. The method of electroencephalography was not able to identify any changes that would lead to such a significant improvement in sleep quality. Scientists believe that there have played a role side factors — participants ‘ confidence that they receive effective medical care, compassion and attention to them by experimenters, the mood to receive effective treatment.
In the end, the researchers came to the conclusion that the method of neurofeedback there is no advantage in the treatment of insomnia compared with placebo. Patients began to feel better after any course of therapy. In addition, the researchers note, the data is forced to question the efficacy of neural feedback in General.