Pilcher Andrea Eugenio Cavanna, F. (2011), "The Patients Brain: The Neuroscience Behind the Doctor-Patient Relationship", Social Care and Neurodisability, Vol. 2 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/scn.2011.56102daa.002Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The Patients Brain: The Neuroscience Behind the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Article Type: Resource reviews From: Social Care and Neurodisability, Volume 2, Issue 4
Fabrizio BenedettiOxford University PressOxford, 2010ISBN 978-0-19-957951-8304 pp.£34.95 (Paperback)
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The doctor-patient relationship has long been considered to play an important role in the effective communication during consultations and subsequent delivery of healthcare. In his new book, the neuroscientist Fabrizio Benedetti expands on current literature using neuro-scientific knowledge to explore the biological mechanisms that are essential to the doctor-patient relationship. Benedetti discusses the doctor-patient relationship with reference to four subdivisions of the process of a patient’s experience: feeling sick, seeking relief, meeting the therapist and receiving therapy. He asserts that applying a scientific approach to the doctor-patient relationship enables physicians and other health professionals to gain a better awareness and understanding of the changes that their own behaviour can induce in their patient’s brains and the subsequent effect on patient behaviour. In addition, this neuro-scientific approach enables physicians to further their communications skills with patients and to consider the importance of empathy.
This book is of potential interest to a wide audience of practising clinicians and therapists. Specialists in the field of neurology and psychiatry and researchers in non-pharmacological strategies for pain symptoms are most likely to appreciate the links with Benedetti’s previous work, which focuses on the neurobiological correlates of the placebo effect (Cavanna et al., 2007). Whilst the strengths of the book lie in its coherent account of how the doctor’s words affect the patient’s brain (Benedetti, 2002; Benedetti et al., 2011), its potential weakness is related to the applicability of doctor-patient interaction strategies to complex clinical scenarios. Overall, this book is thoroughly recommended particularly for its novel approach to the timeless debate on how doctors and other clinicians should relate to their patients to maximise therapeutic effects.
Felicity PilcherUniversity of Birmingham, Medical School, Birmingham, UK.
Andrea Eugenio CavannaThe Michael Trimble Neuropsychiatry Research Group, Department of Neuropsychiatry and University of Birmingham, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK.
Benedetti, F. (2002), “How the doctor’s words affect the patient’s brain”, Evaluation and the Health Professions, Vol. 25, pp. 369–86
Benedetti, F., Carlino, E. and Pollo, A. (2011), “How placebos change the patient’s brain”, Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 36, pp. 339–54
Cavanna, A.E., Strigaro, G. and Monaco, F. (2007), “Brain mechanisms underlying the placebo effect in neurological disorders”, Functional Neurology, Vol. 22, pp. 89–94