Magic Medicine, just maybe

From: Damien Broderick (d.broderick@english.unimelb.edu.au)
Date: Wed Jan 02 2002 - 23:28:24 MST


This one is *really* greep-crottling (but the p values aren't that
enthralling).

===========
[a guy sez:]
Leonard Leibovici, a professor of medicine at the Rabin Medical Center
decided to
explore whether it was possible to reach back from the future, into the
past and, using
Therapeutic Intent(TI)/prayer, to effect clinical outcomes of patients with
a severe blood
infection. The results, published in the Christmas 2001 number of the
prestigious British
Medical Journal (BMJ) are as challenging and provocative as any in medicine.

In addition to using well-established procedures of randomization and
double-blind,
Leibovici avoided any charge that he selected his patients to produce a
desired result by
simply taking all of them -- "all adult patents - 3,392 of them -- whose
bloodstream
infection was detected" at the Rabin Center in Israel during a four year
period between
1990 and 1996. "Bloodstream infection was defined as a positive blood
culture (not
resulting from contamination) in the presences of sepsis."

The patients were sorted into two population groups using a random number
generator.
And three primary outcomes were compared: ""the number of deaths in
hospital, length
of stay in hospital from the date of the first positive blood culture to
discharge or death,
and duration of fever.

TI Practitioners were given only a list of the patientís first names and
were asked to say
"a short prayer for the well being and full recovery of the group as a
whole."

Leibovici, says: "We cannot assume a priori that time is linear, as we
perceive it, or that
God is limited by a linear time, as we are, the intervention was carried
out 4-10 years
after the patientís infection and hospitalization. The hypothesis was the
remote
retroactive intercessory prayer reduces mortality and shortens the length
of stay in
hospital and duration of fever." The results challenge our understanding of
reality:
"Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer said for a group is associated
with a shorter stay
in hospital and shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream
infection and
should be considered for use in clinical practice."

======================

http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/323/7327/1450

Main outcome measures: Mortality in hospital, length of stay in hospital,
and duration of fever.
Results: Mortality was 28.1% (475/1691) in the intervention group and 30.2%
(514/1702) in the control
group (P for difference=0.4). Length of stay in hospital and duration of
fever were significantly shorter in
the intervention group than in the control group (P=0.01 and P=0.04,
respectively).

Conclusions: Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer said for a group is
associated with a shorter stay in
hospital and shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream
infection and should be considered
for use in clinical practice.

........................
Innnnteresting. (Even if this holds up, I think we can edit *gods* out of
the equation.)

Damien Broderick



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