BS Study*: Doctors Feel Patients’ Pain | Empathy | LiveScience

Been a while since I pulled out the BS flag, and this seems entirely appropriate:

Good doctors really do feel their patients’ pain.

Hmm. ‘Good’ doctors?

A study, published today (Jan. 29) in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, shows that when doctors see their patients experiencing pain, the pain centers in the physicians’ own brains light up. And when the doctors give treatment to relieve pain, it activates the physicians’ reward centers.

The doctors were then instructed either to use an electronic device that they believed would relieve the patients’ pain, or to withhold the pain relief. In response, the patient-actors either grimaced in pain or maintained a neutral expression to suggest their pain had subsided.

via Doctors Feel Patients’ Pain | Empathy | LiveScience.

Umm, what? These ‘good’ doctors were told that an electronic device would either relieve or not relieve pain, and then they reacted to their patients’ acting with activity in their own pain or reward centers by fMRI.

My first question: did these docs really buy into this magical electronic pain-relieving device, and if so, why? I have to wonder if it was their amusement areas lighting up and not their pleasure centers…

Second, at no time is ‘good’ established in this article. Were there a subset of docs whose fMRI’s didn’t change, and thus they’re ‘bad’?

Not buying it (would buy one of those magical electronic pain relievers, though).

 

*I say this is a BS study based on this writeup. If it’s something else entirely, okay, but this is just awful.