Response to sham treatment depends on certain DNA details, analysis suggests
People who get a feel-good boost from sham medical treatments may have their genes to thank.
Researchers reviewing studies of individuals’ genetics and placebos have identified 11 genes that appear to play a role in people’s response to the sham treatments. Establishing a link between certain genes and the placebo effect is in its infancy, the researchers say online April 13 in Trends in Molecular Medicine. But if confirmed, such a connection could change the way scientists analyze clinical drug trials and how doctors treat patients, the researchers note.
“We don’t actually know how big of a role genetics play in the placebo effect,” says study coauthor Kathryn Hall, a molecular biologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Studies suggesting a link between the placebo effect and a set of specific genes &mdash