Placebo can trick brain into taking it for real

Washington: A placebo, resembling an actual anti-depressant, can "trick" the brain into responding in the same manner as its real counterpart.

A new study by the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) shows that the brain may be influenced by its remembrance of past exposure to such drugs.

Aimee Hunter, assistant professor of psychiatry at the UCLA and colleagues examined the brains of 89 depressed persons during eight weeks of treatment, using either an anti-depressant or a similar-looking placebo, the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology reports.

Individuals who suffer from major depressive disorder often undergo multiple therapies with anti-depressants, according to an UCLA statement.

This is because the disorder can recur in spite of treatment and because finding the right drug for a specific individual can take time.