Anyone seen this from this week's News Scientist?
Prayers found ineffective in speeding recovery â¢ 08 April 2006 From New Scientist Print Edition. Praying for someone might give you hope, but it won't help them recover from heart surgery. It may even harm them. That's the surprising result from a multi-year clinical trial on the therapeutic effects of prayer. Herbert Benson and Jeffery Dusek of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, and their colleagues followed the fates of 1802 patients undergoing coronary bypass operations. Several Christian prayer groups prayed for one set of patients, while another did not receive any prayers. Although all these patients knew they were in the trial, neither they nor their doctors knew which of the groups they were in. The prayers made no detectable difference. In the first month after surgery, 52 per cent of prayed-for patients and 51 per cent of non-prayed-for patients suffered one or more complications, the researchers found (American Heart Journal, vol 151, p 934). A third group of patients received the same prayers as the first group, but were told they were being prayed for. Of these, 59 per cent suffered complications - significantly more than the patients left unsure of whether they were receiving prayers. The researchers have no explanation for this result, but Mitchell Krukoff at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, suggests that the burden of knowing they were being prayed for may have put added stress on these patients after their surgery. From issue 2546 of New Scientist magazine, 08 April 2006, page 6