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The ‘nocebo effect’

According to Penny Sarchet's winning essay for the Wellcome Trust science writing prize, we can all be extremely suggestible – even to the detriment of our health. 

Most people have heard of the placebo effect, in terms of how an inert sugar pill can make you feel better. However less is known about the 'nocebo' effect in which a patient's negative expectations can lead to serious symptoms, pain and even the failure of treatment. 

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