NEW YORK: Simply suggesting that a treatment will ease chest pain may not only dampen the pain, but directly alter heart arteries, a small study concludes.
Among 30 patients having a procedure to evaluate their chest pain, researchers found that those who were told they were being given an infusion of a pain-relieving drug did, on average, report a decrease in pain.
But the participants also showed a measurable change in their heart arteries: a slight but distinct narrowing of the vessels.
Exactly what the findings mean, and whether they have implications for heart disease patients, is not clear.
None of the chest-pain patients actually had heart disease; they were told about the "drug" (which was actually harmless saline) only after testing had shown no blockages in their heart arteries.
The key point is that the power of suggestion created an objective change in the blood vessels, according to Drs. Karin Meissner and Joram Ronel of Technical University Munich in Germany (Reuters)
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