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Computer algorithms can tell apart the drugs that provide effective pain relief from ineffective placebos, a research team from Oxford University has found.

More than 90% of central nervous system drugs fail when they're tried in large human trials. The team at the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) hope that combining information from many brain imaging studies with their computational methods will provide a cheaper way of filtering out drugs that are not likely to work, without the need for expensive human clinical trials.

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