Multiple chemical sensitivity as a conditional response
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Pavlovian conditioning may contribute to some cases of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). On the basis of the conditioning analysis, environmental stimuli (especially olfactory cues) present at the time of a toxicant overdose become associated with the toxicant and elicit aversive conditional responses. Similar associations have been reported in patients receiving chemotherapy, and the literature on such 'pretreatment nausea' in cancer patients is relevant to understanding the role of conditioning in MCS. Evaluation of the contribution of conditioning to MCS has been complicated by confounding interpretations that emphasize conditional responses with interpretations which emphasize the psychiatric status of the patient. Appreciation of the contribution of Pavlovian conditioning to MCS will lead to a better understanding of this complex disorder.
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