Subconscious cues can trigger the placebo effect, say researchers

Subliminal information can trigger the placebo effect and its opposite, the nocebo effect, researchers say.
The finding suggests that patients with certain ailments may feel better or worse depending on subtle cues their brains pick up from the environment, but which they are not consciously aware of.
Karin Jensen, who led the study at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said the work had implications for how doctors interact with their patients and how healthcare is delivered.
The placebo effect is the curious biological mechanism whereby patients' symptoms improve when they take fake medicines with no active ingredient, such as sugar pills or saline injections. It also boosts the effectiveness of genuine medicines.
Though placebo is the better known effect, there is an opposite reaction, called the nocebo response, where people can feel worse after an intervention that should have no ill effects. While both are usually linked to a tangible intervention the patient is aware of, Jensen's team wondered whether subconscious cues might be enough to trigger the same effects.

Source  - Guardian

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