WASHINGTON — Talk about mind over matter: A quirky new study suggests patients’ expectations can make a big difference in how they feel after treatment for a migraine.
Boston researchers recruited 66 migraine patients in an attempt to quantify how much of their pain relief came from a medication and how much was due to what’s called the placebo effect, the healing power of positive belief.
More than 450 headaches later, they reported Wednesday that it’s important for doctors to carefully choose what they tell patients about a powerful medicine — because the message could help enhance its benefits, or blunt them.
“Every word you say counts, not only every gram of the medication,” said Harvard professor Ted Kaptchuk, who led the new study with a team at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.
Are you a positive thinker?