Balance is a very important function that allows maintaining a stable stance needed for many daily life activities and for preventing falls. We investigated whether balance control could be improved by a placebo procedure consisting of verbal suggestion. Thirty healthy volunteers were randomized in two groups (placebo and control) and asked to perform a single-leg stance task in which they had to stand as steadily as possible on the dominant leg. The task was repeated in three sessions (T0, T1, T2). At T1 and T2 an inert treatment was applied on the leg, by informing the placebo group that it was effective in improving balance. The control group was overtly told that treatment was inert. An accelerometer applied on participants' leg allowed to measure body sways in different directions. Subjective parameters, like perception of stability, were also collected. Results showed that the placebo group had less body sways than the control group at T2, both in the three-dimensional space and in the anterior-posterior direction. Furthermore, the placebo group perceived to be more stable than the control group. This study represents the first evidence that placebo effect optimizes posture, with a potential translational impact in patients with postural and gait disturbances.

Positive verbal suggestion optimizes postural control

Villa-Sánchez, Bernardo;Emadi Andani, Mehran;MENEGALDO, GIULIA;Tinazzi, Michele;Fiorio, Mirta
2019

Abstract

Balance is a very important function that allows maintaining a stable stance needed for many daily life activities and for preventing falls. We investigated whether balance control could be improved by a placebo procedure consisting of verbal suggestion. Thirty healthy volunteers were randomized in two groups (placebo and control) and asked to perform a single-leg stance task in which they had to stand as steadily as possible on the dominant leg. The task was repeated in three sessions (T0, T1, T2). At T1 and T2 an inert treatment was applied on the leg, by informing the placebo group that it was effective in improving balance. The control group was overtly told that treatment was inert. An accelerometer applied on participants' leg allowed to measure body sways in different directions. Subjective parameters, like perception of stability, were also collected. Results showed that the placebo group had less body sways than the control group at T2, both in the three-dimensional space and in the anterior-posterior direction. Furthermore, the placebo group perceived to be more stable than the control group. This study represents the first evidence that placebo effect optimizes posture, with a potential translational impact in patients with postural and gait disturbances.
cognitive neuroscience; human behaviour; balance control; placebo effect; verbal suggestion; posture
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/994658
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