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Doctors' empathic powers documented in study

Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2013

Besides the medicines they dispense and the procedures they perform, physicians wield two more powerful tools for healing: their empathy and their confidence in their ability to provide relief. When they employ these powers in the exam room, physicians may kickstart a placebo response in patients. And a patient's belief that she will feel better can be an important spur to making it so. There's no billing code for these medical powers, so one might well ask, are they real? A new study says they are and shows them at work in the brains of practicing physicians.