What are our objectives?

The general goal of the DFG research unit 1328 is to investigate the neurobiological and psychological mechanisms involved in placebo and nocebo effects. These findings are supposed to be transferred to medical research and practice to optimize treatment of patients and improve clinical trial designs.

Optimization of patient treatment and improvement of clinical trial designs

The targeted use of the placebo effect can increase the effectiveness of patient treatment. This advantage can, for example, be used in patients with permanent drug treatment by replacing half of the pills by placebo pills. The irregular alternation of drug and placebo can reduce side-effects while maintaining the main effect of the drug.

With the knowledge of mechanisms underlying placebo and nocebo effects clinical trial designs can be revised and improved to minimize and control placebo effects. Only by doing so a correct evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy, e.g., in the area of drug development, can be ensured.