Scientists may have found an effective treatment for insomnia. In the study published in the Brain journal, a team of scientists found that the key to this may simply be placebo.
The researchers have known that other studies have shown that neurofeedback helps sleep quality and memory. They wanted to find out if the same benefits can be imitated in a study that only used a placebo.
The study involved undergoing the patients to sessions of neurofeedback. After twelve of this, the researchers then sent the patients to another twelve sessions of placebo feedback training. The researchers found that both of these treatments positively affected the patients. Overall, the researchers conclude that the findings indicate that complicated neurofeedback may not be needed as the placebo can also have the same effects.
The participants of the study have experienced improved sleep and life quality. However, the research team did not verify any of this through EEG or measuring the brain’s activity. “Given our results,” said the study’s lead author Manuel Schabus, “one has to question how much of published neurofeeback effects are due to simple expectations on the side of the participants or, in other words, unspecific placebo effects”.
The research team states that the insomnia symptoms could have also been influenced by care and affection provided to the patients. Further studies and discussions are still needed, they say. Another study has also found that insomnia could be passed from parents to children. According to sleep experts in the US, they observed 13 different sleep traits that seemed to have passed through genes.
“We were able to identify 13 sleep and activity measures, most of which are inherited, that correlated with whether an individual had bipolar disorder,” said Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Chairman of Neuroscience at UT Southwestern. “In addition, we were able to trace some of these traits to a specific chromosome.”
This study included more than 500 people from 26families in Costa Rica and Columbia. They found that family members who suffered from bipolar also shared sleeping habits. In another study, a team of researchers say that insomnia could cause damage to the communication networks in the brain. Apparently, people with insomnia have lesser thalamus and white matter compared to those who do not.
However, this team of researchers said that they only found the link between insomnia and white matter integrity. They added that more studies are also needed to confirm their findings.