Study: Prayer doesn’t affect heart patients. Sad.

(From CNN)

NEW YORK (AP) — In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Wow… bummer! But… wait a minute… hope is on the way:

Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University Medical Center, who did not take part in the study, said the results did not surprise him.

Science, he said, “is not designed to study the supernatural.”

Right here… right now… I just spent 15 minutes pondering… but no… I don’t have anything to say. Sad.

Update (10 min later): The title… why isn’t the title stating correctly the results of the study… like this for example:

Prayer has a slightly negative effect on heart patients.

And what about this non-sense “…had no effect….” Prayer had an effect – a slightly negative one – definitely not the effect people would wish for after heart surgery. From now on… “And please, do not pray for me, would you.”

But again, let’s not forget:

Science, he said, “is not designed to study the supernatural.”

Enough pondering for today… back to work.

Update (from The New York Times, March 31, 2006):

…the most scientifically rigorous investigation of whether prayer can heal illness, the study, begun almost a decade ago…

…In another of the study’s findings, a significantly higher number of the patients who knew that they were being prayed for — 59 percent — suffered complications, compared with 51 percent of those who were uncertain. The authors left open the possibility that this was a chance finding. But they said that being aware of the strangers’ prayers also may have caused some of the patients a kind of performance anxiety.

Ok, what about when patients don’t know they are being prayed for?

The study also found that more patients in the uninformed prayer group — 18 percent — suffered major complications, like heart attack or stroke, compared with 13 percent in the group that did not receive prayers. In their report, the researchers suggested that this finding might also be a result of chance.

Well… chance or no chance… next time I am in the hospital… please, do not pray for me, would you. All I need is love.