Cure is about Caring

“Patients can benefit from both personal caring and scientifically proven treatments.” – Science Based Medicine

Humanism in medicine isn’t just about being nice. It’s about caring. Helping to alleviate stress can improve health outcomes.

I am a big fan of Science Based Medicine, the website. When in doubt, I go to them for the research. They had an article last year about placebos, not as cures, but as comfort.

Placebos are things which have no effect on the outcome of a disease.  There is just the suggestion that some people have experienced good results with the placebo and this helps people think they are improving.

There is also a Nocebo effect, as it turns out telling people about negative side effects seems to make those side effects more common.

The research into the ethical use of the placebo effect in medicine is a new field of research and the article above does a good job of laying out what is real in the research and what isn’t.

Let’s be real, people seek out placebos in the form of “alternate medicine” all the time and they do so for a variety of reasons. Mostly it’s because they are scared and are seeking ways to be “proactive” as a way to reduce their stress levels. And this is important because stress can kill and lead to adverse health consequences.

The conclusion of the article is this “We need to learn how to incorporate things like empathy, social support, and hope into better patient care. It’s not just about curing; it’s about caring and comforting when we can’t cure.”

I agree. Sounds a lot like Humanism in medicine to me!

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