Previously, the researchers attributed nausea reduction with wristbands to the placebo effect -- having an outcome in the body the mind expected.
"We know the placebo effect exists, the problem is that we don't know how to measure it very well," corresponding author Joseph Roscoe of the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York said in a statement. "In this study we attempted to manipulate the information we gave to patients, to see if their expectations about nausea could be changed."
Chemotherapy is closely linked to nausea and vomiting, but radiation can also cause nausea. The clinical trial divided 88 people reporting some degree of nausea after receiving at least two radiation treatments into thirds.
One third -- the control group -- did not get wristbands. The second third got wristbands and a handout with explanations and bar graphs showing research linking wristbands to reduced nausea. The last third also received wristbands but information-neutral handouts.
The study, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, found a 23.8 percent decrease in nausea for all the patients wearing wristbands -- compared to a 4.8 percent decrease in the control group -- but no difference between the two wristband groups was found.
The findings were published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.