Tag Archives: Placebo

Vitamin B Found to Halve brain Shrinkage in Old Age

High doses of vitamine B can halve the rate of brain shrinkage in elderly people with memory problems. It may slow their progression toward dementia.

A two-year clinical trial was the largest to date into the effect of B vitamins on “mild cognitive impairment,” a condition which is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Reuters reports:
“[Researchers] conducted a two-year trial with 168 volunteers with MCI who were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill

[O]n average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76 percent a year, while those taking the dummy pill had an average brain shrinkage of 1.08 percent.”


Reuters September 8, 2010
Los Angeles Times September 9, 2010

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Ginger Helps Ease Muscle Pain

For most people, ginger is just an ordinary kitchen spice. However, new research from the University of Georgia has found that it might also be a great natural pain reliever. A group of researchers compared the pain-relieving properties of raw versus cooked ginger in a group of 74 volunteers with muscle pain.
The subjects consumed capsules containing either raw or cooked ginger, or a placebo for 11 days. On day eight, they were given arm weights to lift to induce muscle inflammation and pain.

The researchers found that ginger reduced pain by 25 percent as compared to placebo. They concluded, “Daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury.”

Source:to your Health :April 23rd.2010

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Negative Thoughts ‘Can Induce Sickness’

If you feel ill just looking at the side effects of the medicine that’s supposed to cure you, it might be best not to bother.


Noto w it’s time ignore the warnings: Even just reading the side-effects listed on a pill bottle can increase your risk of experiencing them

The warnings themselves might actually be making you sick, scientists say.

A series of studies from around the world has shown that if you believe something could make you ill, it might well do just that.

Simply reading the side-effects on a bottle of tablets raises your risk of experiencing them.
And, taken to its extreme, patients who believe they will not survive surgery, are more likely to die on the operating table.
Just as positive thinking can be good for your health, negative thoughts can be bad for well-being.

‘The idea that believing you are ill can make you ill sounds far-fetched, yet rigorous trials have established beyond a doubt that the converse is true  –  the power of suggestion can improve health,’ reports New Scientist magazine

The placebo effect has an evil twin: the nocebo effect, in which dummy pills and negative expectations can produce harmful effects.’ Examples included clinical trials for new drugs, in which up to a quarter of patients given dummy versions experienced the side-effects associated with the real thing.

In trials for blood pressure-lowering beta blockers, tiredness and loss of libido were just as common in those given dummy versions.

And more than half of chemotherapy patients start experiencing the nausea ‘A self-fulfilling prophecy‘ associated with the cancer treatment days before it started. The phenomenon raises the prospect that just telling a patient about the side effects associated with their pills, could make their health worse.

Hull University psychologist Professor Giuliana Mazzoni said: ‘On the one hand, people have the right to be informed about what to expect but this makes it more likely they will experience side-effects.’
Research has shown that women who believe they are particularly prone to heart attack are nearly four times as likely to die from coronary conditions than other women.

The power of suggestion can also be responsible for mass outbreaks of ‘ disease‘. In 1988, a high school teacher, in Tennessee in the U.S, noticed a petrollike smell and began to complain of headache, nausea, shortness of breath and dizziness.

The school was evacuated and over the next week, more than 100 staff and students were admitted to casualty complaining of similar symptoms.

Extensive tests could find no medical explanation for their problems.
Dr Clifton Meador, of Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville in the U.S, said fear can turn into self-fulfilling prophecy.

‘Bad news promotes bad physiology. I think that you can persuade people that they’re going to die and have it happen. I don’t think there is anything mystical about it. We’re uncomfortable with the idea that words or symbolic actions can cause death because it changes our biomolecular model of the world.’

Sources:Mail Online. 14th.May,’09

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Acupuncture is Just as Effective Without Needles


Acupuncture works, but it appears to work equally well with or without needle penetration. This conclusion was drawn from a treatment study involving cancer patients suffering from nausea during radiotherapy.

In a series of acupuncture studies that involved more than 200 patients who were undergoing radiation treatment, roughly half received traditional acupuncture with needles penetrating the skin in particular points, while the others received simulated acupuncture instead, with a telescopic, blunt placebo needle that merely touched their skin.

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Afterwards, 95 percent of the patients in both groups felt that the treatment had helped relieve nausea, and 67 percent had experienced other positive effects such as improved sleep, brighter mood, and less pain. Both groups felt considerably better than a separate control group that received no acupuncture of any kind.

The acupuncture was performed by physiotherapists two or three times a week during the five week long period of their radiation treatment.

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Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

chemical structure of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

Image via Wikipedia

Dimethylaminoethenol (DMAE) is a metabolite, a product produced by the body’s metabolic process of procaine. It is a central nervous system stimulant that has a mild impact. It’s effect is similar to an amphetamine, but it is not such a drug. The term DMAE is actually an abbreviation for dimethylaminoethanol, a naturally occurring chemical produced by the human brain. It is a choline molecule that has one methyl group missing from the nitrogen, and it may be for this reason that it can cross the blood-brain barrier more easily than choline. While choline is known to be the precursor of acetylcholine, a recognized neurotransmitter, DMAE may prove to offer a more direct approach to this function by moving into the brain, being acted on by an enzyme (methylation), and thereby undergoing conversion into choline directly where it is needed.


Although free-radicals are a natural result of the human body’s activity, the human equilibrium may be upset because of modern diet and environmental conditions that add further stressors to the system. These conditions cause a need for additional antioxidants in order for the body to cope with industrialized life. Antioxidants seem to reinforce one another, and for this reason it seems prudent to combine the use of several rather than to rely on only one type.

Dimethylaminoethanol, also known as DMAE or dimethylethanolamine, is an organic compound. This compound also goes by the names of N,N-dimethyl-2-aminoethanol, beta-dimethylaminoethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyldimethylamine and Deanol. It is a liquid with a color that ranges from clear to pale yellow.

DMAE is known chemically as dimethyl-amino-ethanol. DMAE has been known in Europe by the product name Deanol for more than three decades. DMAE has two methyl groups and is chemically similar to choline. DMAE has been popular for many years in those interested in improving mental alertness and clarity of thinking.

Industrial uses
Dimethylaminoethanol is used as a curing agent for polyurethanes and epoxy resins. It is also used in mass quantities for water treatment, and to some extent in the coatings industry. It is used in the synthesis of dyestuffs, textile auxiliaries, pharmaceuticals, emulsifiers, and corrosion inhibitors. It is also an additive to paint removers, boiler water and amino resins.

Biochemical precursor
Dimethylaminoethanol is related to choline and is a biochemical precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and found naturally in fish like sardines and anchovies. It is reported to have nootropic effects, although research on this chemical has found both positive and negative potential results.

It is believed that dimethylaminoethanol is methylated to produce choline in the brain[1]. It is known that dimethylaminoethanol is processed by the liver into choline; however, the choline molecule is charged and cannot pass the blood-brain barrier.

Short term studies have shown an increase in vigilance and alertness, with a positive influence on mood. Long term studies are equivocal. Some showed dimethylaminoethanol to increase the lifespan of animals in which it was tested, while others indicate a possible reduction in the average life span of quail.  With the uncertainty of whether this could be extrapolated to humans, dimethylaminoethanol supplementation is not generally recommended. It is possible that dose is a major determining factor in the overall effects of dimethylaminoethanol – a high dose could produce effects opposite to those sought and contribute to life-shortening.

DMAE Research for Alzheimer’s, memory loss, age related mental decline
Studies with DMAE go back to the 1950s. One double blind, placebo-controlled trial performed in twenty-seven patients with severe Alzheimer’s disease did not show significant benefits (Fisman 1981). Another study on twenty-one patients with memory deficits was also discouraging since no improvement was found in memory (Caffarra 1980). However, DMAE was found helpful in patients with age related mental decline. DMAE was given for four weeks to fourteen older patients (Ferris 1977). Ten patients improved and four were unchanged. The patients on DMAE had reduced depression, less anxiety, and increased motivation, but they had no improvement in memory. The researchers say, “the results thus suggest that although DMAE may not improve memory, it may produce positive behavioral changes in some senile patients.” Dementia is a term that is now substituted for senility and is sometimes used to denote a severe case of age related cognitive decline.

DMAE has been touted as an anti-aging nutrient but there have not been any human studies evaluating the claim that DMAE slows aging.

DMAE Positive effects – Benefit of DMAE – DMAE Enhances Mood and Alertness
Most people notice being more alert and focused within a couple of hours after taking DMAE. The DMAE benefit of alertness and focus can last most of the day. A few report a higher sense of wellbeing. DMAE is recommended to be taken in the early part of the day. I also like the mind boosting effect of Acetyl-l-carnitine, but my favorite is a combination of several nutrients and herbs, including DMAE bitartrate, found in Mind Power Rx.

There are dozens of herbs and nutrients available in health food stores that influence mental function. One that has been popular for many years is DMAE, which stands for dimethyl-amino-ethanol. A recent German study evaluated the brain’s electrical reaction during presentation of videoclips of 7 minute duration in 80 subjects with borderline emotional disturbance. The researchers recorded the different emotional states by having the subjects watch these film excerpts. Half of the subjects were then started on a daily dose of DMAE and the testing was repeated after 6 and 12 weeks. The testing included showing the videoclips, filling out mood questionnaires, and also evaluating the brain’s electrical reaction through EEGs (electrodes placed on the scalp that measure brain activity) . The results showed that those who took the DMAE daily had a decrease in theta and alpha1 brain electrical activity indicating that they were more alert. Furthermore, the questionnaires revealed that those on DMAE had a better mood. The researchers conclude, “DMAE can be interpreted to induce a psychophysiological state of better feeling of wellbeing on both levels of analysis mood and electrical pattern of brain activity in subjects suffering from borderline emotional disturbance.”

Dr Sahelian says: Most people notice being more alert and focused within a couple of hours after taking DMAE. DMAE is available in dosages ranging from 100 to 400 mg. It is best to start with a low dose, such as 50 to 150 mg of actual DMAE since high doses can cause anxiety, restlessness, and muscle tenseness in the neck and shoulders. DMAE taken late in the day may cause insomnia.

Efficacy of dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) containing vitamin-mineral drug combination on EEG patterns in the presence of different emotional states. Dimpfel W. Forschung und Entwicklung -, Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 9, D-35440 Linden, Germany. Eur J Med Res. 2003 May 30;8(5):183-91.

The psychophysiological model of provoking different emotional states by watching film excerpts with various emotional contents was used to characterize drug action in 80 subjects (male /f emale = 50%) with threshold emotional disturbance within a randomized, group-parallel, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Analyzing the brain’s electrical reaction during presentation of 5 videoclips of 7 min duration followed by 3 minutes pause revealed a content specific representation of topographical frequency changes. This procedure was repeated after 6 and 12 weeks of daily intake of a vitamin-mineral drug combination containing dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) or placebo. Subjects taking DMAE supplement for 3 months developed significant less theta and alpha1 power in sensomotoric areas of the cortex. Since decreases in theta and alpha1 electrical power have been associated with increased vigilance and attention, subjects taking DMAE combination obviously were more active and felt better. Therefore the vitamin-mineral combination containing DMAE can be interpreted to induce a psychophysiological state of better feeling of wellbeing on both levels of analysis mood and electrical pattern of brain activity in subjects suffering from borderline emotional disturbance.

DMAE Side effects
DMAE is available in varying dosages. It is best to start with a low dose, such as 50 to 150 mg of actual DMAE to avoid DMAE side effects. High doses can cause anxiety, restlessness, and muscle tenseness or stiffness in the neck, jaw, and shoulders. DMAE taken late in the day may cause insomnia. Other DMAE side effects on high dosages include irritability, headache, and overstimulation.

DMAE Availability
DMAE is usually sold by the name of DMAE bitartrate. A 350 mg pill of DMAE bitartrate yields 130 mg of actual DMAE. It is also available as DMAE liquid. One product contains 35 mg of DMAE per drop. Most users notice an effect from 50 to 150 mg of actual DMAE or 150 to 350 mg of DMAE bitartrate.

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DMAE Summary
DMAE can be helpful in the elderly who have cognitive decline. This nutrient can also be taken by an adult of any age who needs to be more focused and alert.

DMAE and Skin
A recent study shows DMAE cream is able to increase firmness of skin. Perhaps DMAE cream has anti-wrinkle potential. See below for the abstract.

The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology.
Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005;6(1):39-47. Grossman R.
Johnson and Johnson Consumer Products Worldwide, Skillman, NJ 08558
Skincare formulations for the improvement of aging skin are increasingly important consumer products. Here, we review available data on one such agent – 2-dimethylaminoethanol ( DMAE ) or deanol – that has recently been evaluated in a placebo-controlled trial. DMAE is an analog of the B vitamin choline and is a precursor of acetylcholine. Although the role of acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter is well known, growing evidence points to acetylcholine as a ubiquitous cytokine-like molecule that regulates basic cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, locomotion, and secretion in a paracrine and autocrine fashion. Indeed, this modulatory role may contribute to the cutaneous activity of DMAE. In a randomized clinical study, 3% DMAE facial gel applied daily for 16 weeks has been shown to be safe and efficacious in the mitigation of forehead lines and periorbital fine wrinkles, and in improving lip shape and fullness and the overall appearance of aging skin. Conclusions: Thus, the benefits of DMAE in dermatology include a potential anti-inflammatory effect and a documented increase in skin firmness with possible improvement in underlying facial muscle tone. Studies are needed to evaluate the relative efficacy of DMAE compared with other skin-care regimens (e.g., topical antioxidant creams, alpha-hydroxy acids).

Split face study on the cutaneous tensile effect of 2-dimethylaminoethanol (dmae) gel.
Skin Res Technol 2002 Aug;8(3):164-7
Beyond subjective assessments, the effect of skin tensors is difficult to assess. The present 2-phase randomized double-blind split face study was designed to compare the effect of a gel containing 3% 2-dimethylaminoethanol (deanol, DMAE) with the same formulation without DMAE. METHODS: In a first pilot study, sensorial assessments and measures of the skin distension under suction were performed in eight volunteers. In a second study conducted in 30 volunteers, shear wave propagation was measured. RESULTS: Large interindividual variations precluded any significant finding in the first study. The DMAE formulation showed, however, a significant effect characterized by increased shear wave velocity in the direction where the mechanical anisotropy of skin showed looseness. The DMAE formulation under investigation increased skin firmness.


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