Placebo-responsive Parkinson patients show decreased activity in single neurons of subthalamic nucleus

Nat Neurosci. 2004 Jun;7(6):587-8. doi: 10.1038/nn1250. Epub 2004 May 16.


Placebo administration is known to affect the brain both in pain and in Parkinson disease. Here we show that placebo treatment caused reduced activity in single neurons in the subthalamic nucleus of placebo-responsive Parkinsonian patients. These changes in activity were tightly correlated with clinical improvement; no decrease in activity occurred when the clinical placebo response was absent.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Apomorphine / pharmacology
  • Apomorphine / therapeutic use
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Humans
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*
  • Placebo Effect
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*


  • Apomorphine