It is an age-old debate whether science and religion should mix in the medical world. But it's estimated that more than half of Americans pray for their health. And that's why Duke Cardiologist Mitch Krucoff says it's worth studying...to find out.
He and his colleagues are looking at whether distant prayer, prayer from people you don't even know, can help patients recover quicker after a heart procedure. He says "prayer, healing touch, compassion, love. These are things that we do all the time in millions of human beings and literally have for thousands of years". He also says skeptics should know this is a double blind study. This means there are two groups of patients and neither knows whether they're being prayed for, or not.
So far, early studies from Duke, Dartmouth and Yale have already shown that just going to church can help fight illness. They show that patients who do not attend church stay in the hospital three-times longer, are 14-times more likely to die following heart surgery, and suffer double the rate of stroke among the elderly.
Doris Redfern calls herself a big believer in church therapy. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given just months to live...3 years ago. She remembers she "started getting these cards, you know, just coming in by the dozens, and the mailman's bringing them, and he said, 'i want you to know my family is praying for you every day, and you know it just works."
Dr. Krucoff says wouldn't it be crazy to ignore any treatment that seems to work especially if it's free.