A joint study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School reveals that when a doctor treats a patient suffering from physical or emotional pain, he actually feels the patient's pain.
The researchers conducted the study on 18 physicians from different medical specialties who had received their medical degrees within the last decade. The physicians underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brains as they interacted with their patients.
The researchers found that the physicians put themselves in their patients' shoes and felt the pain that they believed their patients felt.
"We saw that when the patient was in pain, the physician's brain activated the regions that we had earlier imaged in the physician of their pain networks. Meaning when the patient was in pain, the physician felt pain. They shared the pain", lead researcher Ted Kaptchuk said. The study has been published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.