Prayer no aid to heart patients
(Top Posts - Science - 071505)

Friday, 15 July, 2005,
01:22 GMT 02:22 UK

Prayer 'no aid to heart patients'

Praying for patients undergoing heart
operations does not improve their out-
comes, a US study suggests.


A study found those who were prayed
for were as likely to have a setback in
hospital, be re-admitted, or die within six
months as those not prayed for.

The Duke University Medical Center study
of 700 patients, in the Lancet, said music,
image and touch therapy did appear to re-
duce patients' distress.

Heart experts said patients could benefit
from feeling more optimistic.


This study looked at 700 patients under-
going angiograms (an X-ray of the blood
vessels) or other heart operations at nine
hospitals across the US.

Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist
prayer groups were assigned to pray for
371 of the patients. The rest had no prayer
group. In addition, 374 of the patients were
assigned MIT therapy and the rest none.

MIT involved teaching the patients relaxed
breathing techniques and playing them easy
listening, classical, or country music during
their procedure.

The researchers found that neither therapy
alone, or combined, showed any measur-
able treatment effect on serious cardiovas-
cular events, hospital readmission or death.

But those given music, imagery and touch
therapy had less emotional distress and
had a lower death rate after six months,
though this was not seen as statistically


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