Fabrizio Benedetti Professor of Neurophysiology and Human Physiology at the University of Turin Medical School, Turin, Italy, and Director of Medicine & Physiology of Hypoxia at the Plateau Rosà Laboratories, Plateau Rosà, Switzerland.
Nocebo and the psychogenic generation of illness
The biopsychosocial model claims that illness is generated by both biological and psychosocial factors. The nocebo response is an excellent model and approach to understand these effects and their psychophysiological underpinnings, as nocebos are made of negative psychological and social factors, such as negative expectations and social interactions. There is today experimental evidence that nocebos can create symptoms and illness from nothing, whereby a combination of biological, psychological and social factors interact with each other in the generation of symptoms and illness. Several biochemical pathways have been identified, e.g. cholecystokinin and cyclooxygenase, and the activation of these mechanisms have been found to take place in adulthood and as early as in prenatal life. The study of placebo and nocebo oxygen has been crucial to unravel these mechanisms. Therefore, the investigation of oxygen-related conditions, such as hypoxia, represents today an excellent approach to understand how nocebos can generate illness from nothing.
Fabrizio Benedetti, MD is Professor of Neurophysiology and Human Physiology at the University of Turin Medical School, Turin, Italy, and Director of Medicine & Physiology of Hypoxia at the Plateau Rosà Laboratories, Plateau Rosà, Switzerland. He has been nominated member of The Academy of Europe and of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain. He is now a member of the Council of Scientists of the Human Frontiers Science Program Organization. He is author of the book Placebo Effects (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2014), which received the Medical Book Award of the British Medical Association, and The Patient’s Brain (Oxford University Press 2010). He received the Seymour Solomon Award of the American Headache Society in 2012, the Herlitzka Prize for Physiology in 2012, the William S Kroger Award of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis in 2015, the EFIC-IBSA Award in 2015, the ARNO Award from the Neurological Research Association in 2018.