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In modern medicine, the placebo response or placebo effect has often been regarded as a nuisance in basic research and particularly in clinical research. The latest scientific evidence has demonstrated, however, that the placebo effect and the nocebo effect, the negative effects of placebo, stem from highly active processes in the brain that are mediated by(More)
The use of functional brain imaging techniques has led to considerable advances in our understanding of brain processing of human visceral sensation. The use of complementary techniques such as functional MRI, positron emission tomography, magnetoencephalography, and EEG has led to the identification of a network of brain areas that process visceral(More)
Our understanding of the mechanisms mediating or moderating the placebo response to medicines has grown substantially over the past decade and offers the opportunity to capitalize on its benefits in future drug development as well as in clinical practice. In this article, we discuss three strategies that could be used to modulate the placebo response,(More)
This report defines criteria for diagnosing functional anorectal disorders (ie, fecal incontinence, anorectal pain, and disorders of defecation). Functional fecal incontinence is defined as the uncontrolled passage of fecal material recurring for > or =3 months in an individual with a developmental age of > or =4 years that is associated with: (1) abnormal(More)
Little is known about the cerebral representations of visceral sensations in humans. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we mapped the cortical areas of the human brain that were activated by mechanical stimulation of the esophagus in 5 healthy volunteers. Stimulation probes were placed into the distal part of the esophagus and inflated to(More)
Ano-rectal stimulation provides an important model for the processing of somatosensory and visceral sensations in the human nervous system. In spite of their anatomical proximity, the anal canal is innervated by somatosensory afferents whereas the rectum is innervated by the visceral nervous system. In a functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) experiment, we(More)
In this report the functional anorectal disorders, the etiology of which is currently unknown or related to the abnormal functioning of normally innervated and structurally intact muscles, are discussed. These disorders include functional fecal incontinence, functional anorectal pain, including levator ani syndrome and proctalgia fugax, and pelvic floor(More)
Background/Objectives:Consisting of ∼1014 microbial cells, the intestinal microbiota represents the largest and the most complex microbial community inhabiting the human body. However, the influence of regular diets on the microbiota is widely unknown.Subjects/Methods:We examined faecal samples of vegetarians (n=144), vegans (n=105) and an equal number of(More)
BACKGROUND Nocebo phenomena are common in clinical practice and have recently become a popular topic of research and discussion among basic scientists, clinicians, and ethicists. METHODS We selectively searched the PubMed database for articles published up to December 2011 that contained the key words "nocebo" or "nocebo effect." RESULTS By definition,(More)
Sensory stimuli from the visceral domain exhibit perceptual characteristics different from stimuli applied to the body surface. Compared with somatosensation there is not much known about the cortical projection and functional organization of visceral sensation in humans. In this study, we determined the cortical areas activated by non-painful electrical(More)