Stanford physician and bestselling author Abraham Verghese, MD, was featured in a segment on PBS NewsHour last night.
A champion of bedside medicine, Verghese highlights emerging research on the importance of the patient-physician relationship during the segment:
We're learning that you can have a powerful effect on patients, or a powerful negative effect on patients, based on context, based on your tone of voice. They are actually associated with significant chemical changes in the brain.
The Parkinson's patients' dopamine levels go up with a placebo. We're now able to show that the words of comfort trigger biological reactions which are the very things that you want, and you can use drugs to get there, or you can use words of comfort to get there, which would make your drugs so much more effective. It's an incredible insight, and, you know, a couple of decades now of practicing medicine, it's lovely to come full circle to where I started, but with the science to back it up.
A version of this story previously aired on the television services "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly" program.