13th International Congress
13th International Congress

News Release

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Laur, elaur@movementdisorders.org
+1 414-276-2145 (MDS Secretariat)
MDS 13th International Congress Press Room (June 7-11):
Le Palais des Congres de Paris,
Room 212/213, Level 2, Hall Maillot, TEL: +33 (0)1 40 68 63 74

Researchers Find Placebos Mimic the Effect of Active Medication in Parkinson's Disease

PARIS - Researchers found that the placebos can mimic the effect of active medication in Parkinson's disease. This new research was presented at The Movement Disorder Society's 13th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.

The study, led by Sarah C. Lidstone at Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre in Vancouver, Canada showed the likelihood of improvement, as well as the patients' prior medication experience, drives dopamine release in the striatum. The researchers used verbal manipulation to modulate the strength of expectation of symptom improvement and measured the resulting dopamine release using raclopride positron emission tomography (PET).

"There is considerable interest in the role of the placebo effect in therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD). Little is known about how much benefit is conferred by the actual treatment and how much is related to the expectation of receiving a potential beneficial treatment," commented David Eidelberg, MD from New York University School of Medicine. "Using [11C] raclopride PET imaging, the authors offer proof that the placebo effect is mediated by release of endogenous dopamine at striatal synapses. Given that synaptic dopamine levels are increased by the expectation of receiving a study drug - rather than the drug itself - this effect becomes critical in the interpretation of clinical trials targeting PD symptoms. Further work will be needed to understand how the placebo effect modulates brain circuitry and to assess its effects on disease biomarkers," stated Eidelberg.

Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options for Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. More than 3,900 physicians and medical professionals from 90 countries will be able to view over 1,700 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

The Movement Disorder Society, an international society of over 3,000 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about the Movement Disorder Society, visit www.movementdisorders.org.