Monday, July 25, 2005

News flash: prayer ineffective

News Bulletin: prayer is not medically effective. Duh.

From Medscape Medical News:
July 18, 2005 — Distant prayer does not improve outcome of elective percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs), according to the results of a randomized study published in the July 16 issue of The Lancet.


The main outcome measure was combined in-hospital major adverse cardiovascular events and six-month readmission or death; secondary outcomes were six-month major adverse cardiovascular events, death or readmission by six months, and six-month mortality. For the primary composite endpoint, there was no significant difference for any treatment comparison.
Not surprising, I'd say. You get a bunch of people who don't know you praying at different locations and the result is . . . nothing. But then there is also this:
"Although the primary endpoints in this study showed no definitive treatment effects, secondary analyses can be useful for hypothesis generation to guide future trials," Dr. Krucoff [the study leader] said.

Issues unresolved by this study include potentially differential effects of the timing and duration of prayer, the number of intercessors praying, prayers from individuals vs those from congregations, and prayers from different religions.
Well, this had an effect. It made me want to scream. It says the investigators hold open the possibility that no effect was evident because they chose the wrong religion, didn't have a big enough praying team, or they didn't pray long enough. And they want to do more studies to explore these variables?

Aargh! Excuse me while a lay in a supply of Tamiflu.