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Study: Pessimism may override pain treatments

A patient is shown in a doctor's office in this undated file photo. Research shows that pessimism can override the effectiveness of even powerful treatments when it comes to pain relief.

March 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Those who look at the glass as half empty instead of half full could be hurting themselves when it comes to pain relief.

New brain research shows pessimism can override the effectiveness of even powerful treatments.

Researchers call it the "nocebo" effect and emphasize that learning how anxiety influences pain is crucial to understanding this effect.

There have been few studies on the issue, but researchers say doctors should at least try building closer relationships with their patients to encourage trust in recommended treatments.