Doctoring Decisions

Researchers in São Paulo, Brazil, are using brain scans to study how doctors make diagnoses and treatment decisions. Doctors were tasked with 2 sets of word associations: matching symptoms with diseases and treatments, and matching characteristics with animals.
 
When given specific diagnostic information (“high fever,” “predictive cough”), the doctors showed less brain activity and made quicker (though not necessarily more accurate) diagnoses than when they were given vaguer information.
 
The researchers say the brain processes doctors use to diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments are similar to the associative processes people use to categorize animals or objects.
 
Source: Nature Scientific Reports

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