Predicting Placebo Responders

Patent Development:  USPTO patent application # 14/351,56

“Bodily Self-Image and Methods for Predicting Placebo Response or Response Shift” Under active review (April 2017).

My patent submission, one related to the a-priori identification of placebo responders and response shifters prior to their enrollment into a clinical research study, is available for co-development or acquisition.

In many ways, the problem of placebo response originates from the differences between the right and left brain’s capabilities. The right brain perceives but does not conceptualize because the language centers are on the left. Yet, the behavioral economics literature shows that both hemispheres independently assess and act according to their abilities. These seemingly yield Kahneman’s (“Thinking, Fast and Slow”) experiencing self (System 1) and remembering self (System 2).

Even more basically, one can consider the right brain as processing percepts and the left brain as processing concepts. Because the right brain cannot speak for itself, that requires language (concepts), the extent to which the right brain informs our responding to the world has been overlooked, co-opted if you will, by language itself. But the right brain is fully competent. Processing percepts, like using the brake pedal in the car or having an “intuition” that a long mathematical equation just isn’t correct, seems more trivial than it is because language isn’t involved. That’s an error on our part – surmising that concepts are more important than percepts. Until you break this barrier, solving the mystery of the cause of placebo response and response shift will not be available.

The patent for predicting placebo responders and response shifters in QOL research, utilizes a person’s shifting between conceptual and perceptual views of their mental status and pain. It offers up a challenge to the conceptual system that can only be over-ridden by a strong response from the perceptual system. People who can make this shift more readily and completely are placebo responders. The initial method is cumbersome, to be sure, and probably best used for important phase II trials. But, the patent ensures that all other easier to administer tests, like those in paper and pencil form, that relate to this shift of perspective are covered by the patent itself.

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