Placebo Effect Works Both Ways

Poor expectations can override all the effect of a potent pain-relieving drug, while positive expectations can doubled their natural biochemical effect.

A new study of the placebo effect suggests that doctors may need to consider dealing with patients' beliefs about every treatment. This is because there can be both the placebo effect -- the improvements that occur when a patients believes a treatment will do them good -- and the nocebo effect, in which patients see poorer outcomes as the result of doubts about a medical treatment.

Science Daily reports:

“The researchers used brain imaging to confirm the ... the volunteers really did experience different levels of pain when their expectations were changed, although the administration of pain relief remained constant.”

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