Only words with 2 or more characters are accepted
Max 200 chars total
Space is used to split words, "" can be used to search for a whole string (not indexed search then)
AND, OR and NOT are prefix words, overruling the default operator
+/|/- equals AND, OR and NOT as operators.
All search words are converted to lowercase.

Science slam

For the first time ever, the SIPS conference will feature a Science Slam, organized and hosted by our Early Career Researchers, including prizes for the best three presentations!

Eight selected applicants from different institutions over the world will present their work to the SIPS attendees in only 4 minutes. With this science slam, we want to showcase the often complex and specific work that we do, but make it accessible to people outside your field – and a great way to start is to practice it with people in the field! There are no bounds to how presenters use their time – they can be as creative as they like (e.g. bring props, use sounds, visuals, etc.). After each presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions for two minutes. The best presentations will be announced and receive their prizes at the SIPS closing session on Saturday May 13th.

The Science Slam will take place on Thursday, May 11th from 18:00 to 19:00.

Talk titlePresenter
Will words work wonders?Livia Asan (University Hospital Essen)
To reduce nocebo effects, describe symptoms as positive signalsKari Leibowitz (Stanford University)
What can psychedelic drugs teach us about placebo-controlled trials?Lukas Basedow (Philipps-University Marburg)
Contextual enhancement package for osteoarthritis managementAyah Ismail (University of Nottingham)
Uncorking the placebo effects in wine: From marketing to medicineElif Buse Caliskan (University Hospital Essen)
Beliefs and doping: Are placebo effects encouraging substance use in sport?Philip Hurst (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Itching for science – Modelling anti-allergic placebo effects in the healthy crowdStefanie Hölsken (University Hospital Essen)



Livia Asan

University Hospital Essen

Will words work wonders?

Talk description

Health care professionals really are stuck in a dilemma. On the one hand, the standard of obtaining informed consent from patients comes with the obligation to disclose all information they need to weigh pros and cons of any treatment or procedure. On the other hand, we know that telling people about potential risks and side effects might elicit just those via the nocebo effect. In fact, there might be a way out of this predicament: using the right words. Can we deliver information in an effective way that does not create negative expectations? Might we be able to prevent nocebo effects, not by downplaying risks or withholding information, but instead by simply by choosing the right expressions?
I want to show you our approach on how we test whether communication strategies during informed consent can reduce side effects after lumbar puncture- an abundant procedure in neurology. Together, we will explore some other instances where you could maybe work wonders just by using (or avoiding) certain words. After this talk, you might delete some phrases out of your standard communication repertoire and add new ones, to the benefit of your patients.



Livia investigates the role of dopamine for placebo analgesia, the utilization of placebo and avoiding nocebo in clinical settings, and expectation effects in clinical populations as a clinician scientist.


Kari Leibowitz

Stanford University

To reduce nocebo effects, describe symptoms as positive signals

Talk description

Nocebo effects got you down?

Wishing there was a better way to keep patients informed of possible side effects without making them more likely?


Across multiple studies, we find that truthfully framing minor side effects of treatment as positive signals that the treatment is working can help patients know what to expect while providing encouragement that treatment is going well.In a six-month study of patients receiving oral immunotherapy treatment for life-threatening peanut allergies, this approach reduced anxiety, decreased questions about side effects, reduced side effects at the largest dose sizes, and increased biomarkers of allergic tolerance!
In patients who had just received their second COVID-19 shot, a four-minute video describing how minor side effects mean the body is building immunity led to fewer symptoms immediately after vaccination and reduced worry about side effects three days later! If there’s a common underlying mechanism between symptoms and treatment efficacy, and the side effects aren’t dangerous or life-threatening, framing symptoms as positive signals might be right for YOU! Tune in for more on the evidence, promise, and pitfalls of this approach in this EXCLUSIVE science slam by Kari Leibowitz, PhD!



Kari’s work aims to help us understand how mindsets can be harnessed to improve health and experience in clinical contexts.

Lukas Basedow

Philipps-University Marburg

What can psychedelic drugs teach us about placebo-controlled trials?

Talk description

Psychoactive substances, be they medical or recreational, are always used in a context. This context, often referred to as "set and setting", has always been recognized as an influence on drug effects. But can we really distinguish effects that stem from pharmacological action from effects due to expectations and other context factors? In this Slam-talk I will spell out current issues and future directions for placebo-controlled drug trials, using the example of drug-assisted psychotherapy.



Lukas focuses on the consequences of drug use, the modulation of treatment expectations and the effect of drug-related expectations on subjective and therapeutic effects in his postdoc.

Ayah Ismail

University of Nottingham

Contextual enhancement package for osteoarthritis management

Talk description

Contextual effect is integral in the overall treatment effect of any given intervention. In osteoarthritis, 75% of the treatment effect is attributable to the contextual effect. Therefore, we are developing a Contextual Enhancement Package (CEP) to enhance the overall treatment effect.
The UK Medical Research Council framework for complex intervention development was followed to develop CEP. Five sub-studies have been conducted in the development phase: a Delphi consensus among international experts in placebo research; a systematic review (SR) of randomised control trials (RCTs); a SR of qualitative studies; a survey of stakeholders; and public and patient involvement (PPI) throughout the development.
Of 16 contextual factors (CFs) identified by placebo experts through the Delphi consensus, three (empathy, patient involvement and positive communication) had therapeutic effects from the SR of RCTs, and an additional five (clear and relevant information, confidence of health practitioner, patient expectation, consultation time, and easy access to consultation) were supported by the qualitative SR. All eight CFs were supported by the stakeholder survey and PPIs.
Eight CFs have been identified. They will form the basis to develop a CEP with feasibility testing and evaluation of clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the intervention.



Ayah works on developing a package which helps to better manage osteoarthritis and teaches physiotherapy in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia.

Elif Buse Caliskan

University Hospital Essen

Uncorking the placebo effects in wine: From marketing to medicine

Talk description

Throughout the history, the success of the clinical practice has relied on the contextual factors surrounding a treatment. Modern medicine, however, focused on the pharmacological effects of a drug, leaving out the therapeutic potential of clinical encounter. The latter one is mainly defined by patients’ beliefs and expectations shaped by their prior experiences in their daily life. Marketing is one of the areas, that still integrates these psychological factors effectively in its daily practice. These are often addressed in advertisements to influence the judgment of consumers about the products and services. Hereby a mere change at the label of the product or the music playing at the background aims to influence the perception of consumers. These beliefs and expectations further affect their subjective experience with the product and subsequently, the decision if they would buy the product again. This may be translated into patient-clinician interaction, in which simple environmental cues like decoration, appearance and manner of healthcare provider as well as the price and advertisement of the treatment itself have pivotal impact on treatment efficacy and compliance of the patient. To this end, we will explore what we can adopt from neuroeconomics to improve the medical practice.



Elif explores the complex ways in which our beliefs, expectations, and perceptions can influence our health and well-being, as well as placebo and nocebo effects, as a clinician scientist.

Philip Hurst

Canterbury Christ Church University

Beliefs and doping: Are placebo effects encouraging substance use in sport?

Talk description

Performance enhancing substance use (i.e., doping) is associated with several acute and chronic health disease. However, evidence to support the effectiveness of doping substances to improve sport performance is equivocal. Several researchers have argued that a large proportion of the effectiveness can be the result of placebo effects. A growing body of evidence has shown that placebo effects can mimic the effects of doping substances and that beliefs that doping is effective, can encourage future doping use. The aim of this session is to highlight the role of beliefs and placebo effects in an athlete’s decision to dope.



Philip’s research interests examine the effectiveness of performance enhancing substances and developing educational interventions that prevent doping abuse in sport as a senior lecturer. 

Stefanie Hölsken

University Hospital Essen

Itching for science – Modelling anti-allergic placebo effects in the healthy crowd

Talk description

In this talk, we will delve into classical conditioning as an approach to experimentally evoke placebo responses in the immune system. To do so, an experimental trial focusing on allergic skin reactions will be presented. Allergies provide a good model for the exploration of placebo mechanisms, as placebo rates are exceptionally high in this field. A number of studies have provided evidence for the involvement of psychological factors in the occurrence of allergic symptoms and, using classical conditioning, both the provocation of allergic symptoms as well as the alleviation of these could be achieved. We employed a model applicable to healthy subjects to test the alleviation of subjective and objective allergic skin responses by conditioning anti-histaminergic medication. Such paradigms can provide important insights into the factors underlying placebo responses, not only in allergies but in the immune system in general.



Stefanie is interested in the role of verbal suggestions and learning experiences for placebo effects in the immune system and their influence on the treatment outcomes of patients suffering from chronic skin diseases in her PhD.

Recent updates as of 05/11/2023