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Can low placebo responsiveness in dementia be exploited in clinical trials?
  1. Fabrizio Benedetti
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fabrizio Benedetti, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin Medical School and National Institute of Neuroscience, Turin, 10125, Italy; fabrizio.benedetti{at}

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One of the main objectives of clinical trial designs is to minimise the placebo response in order to provide better evidence of the specific effect of the treatment, be it pharmacological or not. Today there is no general agreement how to do this and, indeed, many protocols do exist that may reduce, at least in part, the magnitude of the placebo effect. In recent years, several studies have shown that the impairment of prefrontal lobe functioning is associated with a reduction in placebo responsiveness in pain, both in patients with dementia with impaired prefrontal connectivity1 and in normal subjects with reduced integrity of prefrontal white matter,2 which …

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