This health video focuses the claim that praying can save someone's life.
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Jennifer Mathews: Prayer can liven up a room for quiet an entire congregation, but can it saves life. Duke Cardiologist Mitchell Krucoff says it worth studying to find out. In one of the first clinical trials of its kind Krucoff and colleagues are looking at whether distant prayer, prayer from people you don't even know can help patients recover quicker after a heart procedure. Mitchell Krucoff: Prayer, Healing touch, Compassion, Love these are things that we do all the time in millions of human beings and have literally for thousands of years. Jennifer Mathews: In the Pilot Study patients who were prayed for had up to a 30% reduction in adverse outcomes. But more recent results show prayer did not affect patient outcomes. Despite these conflicting result, Krucoff says distant prayer should still be studied. Mitchell Krucoff: We consider this a potentially very unique area of therapeutic advance. Jennifer Mathews: But some like Dr. Stephen Barrett disagree. Dr. Stephen Barrett: There's no point in studying prayer, you know it doesn't work, end of story. Jennifer Mathews: Barrett and others say distant prayer studies are a waste of time and money. Dr. Stephen Barrett: The effect of prayers can't easily be measured. Dr. Michael Cerullo: What these days are actually designed to do is not so much test prayer, as test God and that's why they are double-blinded, so that the patients have no knowledge of whether they are being prayed for or not. Jennifer Mathews: But Professor Michael Cerullo says not all prayers study should be dismissed. Dr. Michael Cerullo: There are studies about positive effects of spirituality and prayer and a person's religious belief in their health. Jennifer Mathews: In fact, studies from Duke, Dartmouth, and Yale suggest just going to church can help. Patients who don't attend church stay in the hospital three times longer. Heart patients are 14 times more likely to die following surgery and elderly people have double the rate of stroke. Doris Redfern believes her faith and others' prayers helped her recover from Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. Doctors gave her three months to live, that was three years ago. After her diagnoses Doris's church sent out prayer requests to others around the country. Doris Redfern: And I started getting these cards, they are just coming in and you know by the dozens, and the mailman is bringing them and he said, he said, I want you to know that my family is praying for you everyday and it just works. Jennifer Mathews: She believes prayers made her medical treatment work, even when her doctor said nothing would. Doris Redfern: I never thought about that I would be around to see my first great grandchild. Jennifer Mathews: Now she will be around to witness all the little moments. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.