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Leikin memorial lecture: On suffering


“On suffering” will provide a narrative approach on how we can incorporate suffering into our professional and personal lives. The speaker will narrate stories about the impact of suffering on patients and clinicians, will discuss the nature of suffering and the goals of medicine. In the process he will visit Greek mythology, the role of mirror neurons and the empathic response. This led to recent advanced image technology to study dyads of physicians and their patients, where physiologic changes were detected: the very regions of the brain that were activated in suffering patients were active, albeit less intensely, in the physicians that took care of them. The XXth century model of “detached cocern “ needs to be replaced. Emotions help guide and hold our attention on what is humanly significant. In the XXI century model affective empathy can facilitate trust and disclosure and be directly therapeutic. This empathic response to suffering makes being a physician more meaningful and satisfying.

A panel will comment from a psychological, anthropological and philosophical perspective.

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