Key words tell truths about patients' health

Believe it or not, you might be able to tell something about your patients' health simply by looking at the specific words they use. That, at least, is what University of Texas psychology professor Dr. James W. Pennebaker believes after studying communication for many years. For example, he suggests you consider how many times your patient uses personal pronouns like "I" and "me." If the patient uses them progressively less often, he may just be recovering, Dr. Pennebaker says. And increased use of causal words (like "because," "cause," and "effect") may be a good thing too. Article