That excellent headline is on this excellent NPR article about an interesting study by Dartmouth researchers who found evidence that “patients can pick up on subtle facial cues from doctors that reveal the doctor’s belief in how effective a treatment will be. And that can have a real impact on the patient’s treatment outcome. “
An interesting tidbit: Determining what was cueing the patient required using head-counted GoPro cameras and “a computer model that analyzed the intensity and type of facial expressions, known as facial action units, that correlated facial behaviors like lip-curling, nose wrinkling, and brow-lowering with the experience of pain.”
This reinforces my belief that the effectiveness of most alternative medicine is due to the time and attention that these pseudo-doctors give to patients – far more than real doctors do. The discrepancy, I think, is because real doctors also have to do lots of real work to diagnose and treat, while talking with patients is the only thing that alt-practitioners actually do.