Have you ever seen a particularly empathetic and reassuring physician and began feeling better as soon as you left the office before even picking up the prescription that she wrote?

Have you ever noticed that when you begin a medical treatment with a positive attitude you seem to respond especially well?

Have you ever rolled your eyes at a friend or relative who insists that his bizarre regimen of supplements and ice showers is the reason he hasn’t a cold in the past decade?

Generally, when we think about health and medicine we think about drugs, surgeries, and treatments. But there is another important factor at play: expectation. The way we expect to feel influences how we actually do feel.

Our lab examines the role of expectation in symptom relief. Currently, we have several projects on the topic of open-label placebos (OLPs) – which are placebos honestly described to patients as inactive medication.

Active and Pending Grant-Funding

  1. Harnessing Placebo Analgesia to Address the Opioid Epidemic. NIH. K01DA048087. PI: Dr. Michael Bernstein.
  2. Precision medicine and Open-Label Placebo (OLP): Do genes moderate OLP effects? Brown University CAAS Research Excellence Award. MPIs: Dr. Michael Bernstein & Dr. Lauren Micalizzi
  3. Optimizing Open Label Placebo Rationales for Chronic Pain. Project Lead Award from the COBRE on Opioids and Overdose (P20 GM125507; PI: J. Rich). Project Lead PI: Dr. Michael Bernstein