Strangers are not good for heart!
Prayers offered by strangers has no effect on the recovery of heart surgery patients, says a recent study.india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 12:50 IST
Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of heart surgery patients, according to findings of one of the most scientifically rigorous studies yet.
In fact, researchers from Harvard Medical School and five other US medical centres found that coronary-bypass patients who knew strangers were praying for them had higher incidence of complications than people who got no prayers.
The decade-long study, which appears in the April issue of the American Heart Journal, examined 1,802 patients at six US hospitals.
These patients were randomly assigned to three groups, with 604 receiving intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer.
Prayers started the night before surgery and continued for two weeks.The researchers, led by Herbert Benson and Jeffery A. Dusek of Harvard Medical School and Mind/Body Institute, found that among patients who did not know they were being prayed for, 52 per cent had a post-surgical complication.
Among those who knew others were praying for them, 59 per cent had a complication. The team speculated that telling them may have caused anxiety, or fear that doctors expected the worst.
The $2.8 million study, the latest and most ambitious to examine the thorny question of whether distant prayer is beneficial, was funded largely by the John Templeton Foundation, which supports research into science and religion.