Medicine may work better if your doctor seems to believe it will work, new study suggests

We’ve long known about the placebo effect. But a new study sheds some light on at least one way it could be transmitted: through a doctor’s subtle facial cues.
Source: Adam Berry/Getty Images

A doctor’s subtle facial cues — an encouraging smile, or perhaps a wince — can influence a patient’s own beliefs about whether a treatment will work and can even help induce a placebo effect, a new study suggests.

The study, published last week in Nature Human Behaviour, suggests that patients will report that a treatment works better when their doctor’s expression conveys their belief in the treatment, even when the medicine is a placebo. It offers a new potential explanation for how patients’

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