12 August 2011

Tricking the brain? - or just using the mind?

Today's Portland Tribune ran a front page story on pain management through feedback techniques that avoid drugs and have shown to be quite effective. The focus is on OHSU pain psychologist Beth Darnell, who's been using mirror therapies for amputees' phantom limb pain, and other techniques to increase the plasticity of the brain. She's also a believer in the use of placebos: "The most underutilized area of science and medicine is placebo," she says. "It used to be associated with weakness. I associate it with power. It perfectly exemplifies the power of the brain … if you believe it to be so, it is so."

The story is by Peter Korn, and it's here: "The pain is all in your head (and researchers say that's OK".

Here's a bit more about Beth Darnell.