Two publications wrote about “thinking yourself sick” this week. Both have a mind over matter angle, in that we can actually think ourselves into having diseases, conditions, and side effects to drugs, even if we are taking a placebo.

The New Yorker wrote about the “nocebo” effect, which is what they call the ”placebo effect’s malevolent Mr. Hyde.” They cite “wi-fi syndrome”, which is the mysterious condition in which people say the waves used in mobile communication cause headaches, nausea, exhaustion, tingling, and even gastrointestinal distress, among other symptoms. And while most of us are always looking for a great wi-fi signal, people suffering from wi-fi syndrome (or think they are) will take drastic measures like moving to a cave or a mountain to be as far away from a signal as possible in order to be free of their “symptoms.”

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers analyzed six studies to see how thinking you are stressed affects your heart. Participants were asked to self-report intense, frequent feelings of stress and then they were followed for 14 years to see if they were diagnosed with, hospitalized, or died from coronary heart disease. What they found: Participants who reported high levels of stress had a 27 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. So were they really stressed or just thinking they were stressed? And is there even a difference?

CLICK HERE to read more from Boston Magazine

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