Placebos and Nocebos in Migraine: Children and Adolescents

  • Vanda FariaEmail author
  • David Borsook
Part of the Headache book series (HEAD)


Harnessing the placebo effect in clinical settings has been one of the goals of placebo research. However, most of the studies have been performed with healthy participants. Evaluating the placebo response constitutes a challenge in many conditions due to their ongoing nature and undulating processes that make interventions more complex in terms of identifying responsivity. Migraine, particularly episodic migraine, provides an ideal disease to evaluate placebo and nocebo responses because of its intermittent nature and the ability to evaluate a number of processes involved in treatment. The approach becomes even more interesting in the pediatric population where suggestibility may be more effective than in adults. In this chapter we present migraine as a model to investigate the impact of placebo and nocebo responsivity, provide a summary of placebo (and nocebo) in the pediatric migraine population, and offer a few suggestions related to the process, the utility, and the ethics of introducing placebo and managing nocebo into the pediatric clinic.


Pediatric Children Adolescents Headache Brain function MRI Brain development Architecture Parents Clinic 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Pain and the Brain, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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