Do nice doctors heal you faster?
Patients whose doctors show concern recover from colds faster
It feels good when someone pays attention to our concerns and our feelings—and it turns out such empathy is good for our health, too. Researchers at the University Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health report in Family Medicine that patients of doctors who expressed such concern had a cold for one day fewer than patients whose physicians focused on just the facts. In randomized controlled trials the colds of patients assigned to empathetic doctors lasted an average of seven days; those with low empathy docs endured an extra day of cold misery. The doctors’ empathy also boosted the patients’ immune systems. There was a direct relation between a physician’s empathy level and his or her patient’s level of IL-8, a chemical that summons immune system cells to fight microbial bad guys.
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