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Medical Marketing: Is That REAL Pain?

Robert Burton of Salon wrote an interesting piece that discusses both the field of prescription drug marketing and how fMRI brain scans have been used to show that pain is “real.”

Fibromyalgia is a condition in which patients seem to experience more pain than non-sufferers. Fibromylgia is thought to be stimulated by mental states like anxiety and depression, but no specific measures like blood tests, X-rays, autopsies, etc., demonstrate any evidence of the condition. The only thing that physicians have to work with is the subjective descriptions of the patients as to their pain level. Now, fMRI brain scans which show more pain-related brain activation in fibromyalgia sufferers may open the floodgates for pharmaceutical companies to offer products like Lyrica to treat the condition. Of course, what the fMRI is showing is that the patient is experiencing a higher level of pain than normal, not that there is a specific organic reason for the pain.

This whole discussion gets into the fascinating area of expectations and individual experience: […]

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Placebos, Price, and Marketing

Hot on the heels of learning that more expensive wine tastes better, we find that more expensive placebos are more effective at controlling pain: […]

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Marketing and the Placebo Effect

We all know what the placebo effect is – give a group of patients a sugar pill instead of a medication with active ingredients, and some of them will show an improvement in their symptoms. Drug researchers treat […]

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