doctors

Good doctors feel their patients' pain, literally

Monday, February 11, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: doctors, empathy, patients

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) In a new study that helps illuminate why a good doctor-patient relationship is so important, researchers have found that doctors' brains respond to patients' experiences the same way they would respond to their own. The study was conducted by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, and published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

"Our findings showed that the same brain regions that have previously been shown to be activated when patients receive placebo therapies are similarly activated in the brains of doctors when they administer what they think are effective treatments," first author Karin Jensen said.

Previous studies have shown that doctors' expectations can influence the strength of patients' placebo effect.

Inducing empathy

The study consisted of three separate parts. It was conducted on 18 doctors from nine different specialties.

In the first part, doctors underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brains while receiving a dose of heat pain to their forearms. The doctors were then hooked up to a sham treatment device that they were told was real. The researchers pretended to treat the doctors, while actually reducing the amount of heat they were receiving from the pain machine. This phase was meant in part to convince the doctors that both the pain machine and the pain-relieving machine were real, whereas in fact the devices used in the rest of the study were fake.

In the second part, the doctors met a 25-year old woman who was introduced as a patient, but who was in fact following a rehearsed script. The doctors performed a standard clinical examination of the "patient," so that they could establish a rapport with her. The doctors then filled out a questionnaire, ranking their own perceived "perspective-taking" (empathy) skills - that is, their ability to relate to another person's experience.

In the third part, the doctors were hooked up again to the fMRI while watching the "patient" being treated with the (sham) pain device, then to push a button that was supposed to either provide pain relief or no relief.

Doctors' brains respond

The researchers found that when viewing a patient in pain, the pain processing regions of the doctors' brains were activated. Likewise, when they believed that they were administering pain relief, their brains became active in regions that have previously been linked to the placebo response.

The placebo response occurs any time patients believe they are receiving a real treatment. It has been shown to play a major role in symptomatic relief and healing in a variety of conditions, even when actual drugs are involved.

Significantly, the doctors who ranked themselves highest on empathy were also the most likely to show activity in the brain regions associated with rewards, signifying that they felt gratification when they believed that they were helping a patient.

"We already know that the physician-patient relationship provides solace and can even relieve many symptoms," senior author Ted Kaptchuk said.

"Our ultimate goal is to transform the 'art of medicine' into the 'science of care.'"

Sources:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-01/bidm-pbs012513.php

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.