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Two Dutch Arthritis Association grants, for placebo and chronobiology research


Prof. dr. Andrea Evers, Dr. Judy Veldhuijzen and several collaborators have received a grant from the Dutch Arthritis Association for a study on the use of placebo effects in clinical practice, specifically the role pharmacotherapeutic conditioning in juvenile idiopathic pain patients. It is expected that with this paradigm, the pharmacotherapeutic effects of the treatment will be enhanced while simultaneously reducing side effects.

Pharmacotherapeutic conditioning relies on expectancy learning processes, such as known from placebo effects. Through conditioning principles, a physiological response can be produced upon expectation of an effective treatment. This approach has the potential to offer new therapeutic possibilities in the treatment of children with persistent pain problems.

The project is a collaboration between the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit of Leiden University with researchers from Leiden University Medical Center, University Medical Center Utrecht, AMC Amsterdam, UMC Groningen, Sint Maartenskliniek Nijmegen and Erasmus MC Rotterdam.


Prof. dr. Andrea Evers and dr. Esther Habers received a grant from the Dutch Arthritis Association. With this grant, they will evaluate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a very innovative, non-invasive, non-pharmacological, and inexpensive therapy: bright light therapy.

The therapy aims to restore the disturbed circadian rhythmicity observed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. If bright light therapy proves its efficacy in rheumatoid arthritis, the therapy will be an important adjuvant therapy to current treatment options. Additionally, the gained knowledge also opens new horizons for the application of other circadian rhythm synchronizers (e.g. physical activity) in rheumatoid arthritis treatment.

The research project is a collaboration between the Health, Medical and Neuropsychology unit of the Leiden University, and the Department of Rheumatology and Laboratory of Neurophysiology of the Leiden University Medical Center.

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