Your Health: May 20, 2002

PLACEBO POWER Move over, Prozac. It looks as if sugar pills can chase the blues away too. A six-week clinical trial in which doctors used PET scans to examine the brains of 17 patients hospitalized for depression shows that high-priced antidepressants and dummy pills both cause visible changes in the mood-regulating regions of the brain. Asked how they felt, patients on fake and real pills alike reported that their symptoms improved. But don't tear up your prescription just yet. The catch? The subjects' moods may have lifted in part because they had left their usual worries behind and moved into a...

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