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Negative thoughts can stop painkillers working

17th February 2011

Research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine has shown that a patient’s belief that a drug will not work can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Oxford University team showed the benefits of painkillers could be boosted or completely wiped out by manipulating expectations. They also identified the regions of the brain which are affected and suggest that the findings could have important consequences for patient care and for testing new drugs. The study was conducted on healthy people who were subjected to pain for short periods.

 

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