Two interesting tidbits:
First, Wired has an interesting bit about how placebos are flummoxing the pharma world by actually becoming effective treatments (worth the read):
Ironically, Big Pharma’s attempt to dominate the central nervous system has ended up revealing how powerful the brain really is. The placebo response doesn’t care if the catalyst for healing is a triumph of pharmacology, a compassionate therapist, or a syringe of salt water. All it requires is a reasonable expectation of getting better. That’s potent medicine.
Second, research that concludes a doctor’s compassion helps cure colds faster:
A new study shows, for the first time, that the doctor’s empathy may be an even better way to speed recovery.
People recover from the common cold faster if they believe their doctor shows greater compassion toward their illness, according to a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health study, published in the July issue of Family Medicine.
Powerful implication: the medicine of thought alone improves patient outcoems. Is phantom medicine a burgeoning trend?