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Laser Heart Therapy Brings Hope to Chest Pain Patients With Few Options

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Another possibility is that the improvement is caused by the placebo effect. Other studies have demonstrated that giving a placebo such as a sugar pill can produce improvement in symptoms. This same placebo effect has been demonstrated in several other studies, says Sanborn.

Perin tells WebMD that it is unclear why PTMR improves both exercise tolerance and chest pain, which doctors measure by using an angina class scale. Angina class III/IV means severe, disabling disease. "I think it has something to do with these channels, even though we know that the channels do close," he says. "We are not tickling the ventricle; these are real channels. And so I believe the effect is in some way related to these channels."

Hendel says that he, too, "thinks there is really something happening here -- something more than a placebo effect."

Hendel and Kornowski agree. They say that this trial is being followed by a larger study that's being conducted at several medical centers. That study, they say, may provide the final answer to the placebo issue.

 

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