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Making mindset matter

Photo of Alia Crum
Mar 2 2017

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Faculty, In the News, Students

Alia Crum and colleagues argue that acting on the growing evidence about the influence of patient mindset and social context on response to healthcare can improve outcomes

The current standard for evaluating medications and treatments, the randomised controlled trial, involves identifying the effects of active ingredients by subtracting out effects produced by placebo. This model effectively isolates medical treatment by comparing it against “medically superfluous,” forces of healing, including social context (eg, medical ritual, patient-provider relationship, institutional reputation, branding), mindset of the patient (eg, the patient’s conscious or embodied expectation to heal), and the body’s natural ability to heal itself with time.