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The Forum > Article Comments > The missing element of the health equation > Comments

The missing element of the health equation : Comments

By Kay Stroud, published 25/6/2012

Christina Puchalski, Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine, writes that spirituality is often central to patients dealing with chronic illness.

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Oh dear another snake oil salesman.
What's next demonic possession rebates on Medicare?
Posted by Kenny, Monday, 25 June 2012 12:23:58 PM
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"So, overcoming cancer can be a life-changing, self-illuminating and positive experience!"

Dying of cancer, not so much -- and I know, or knew, many more people who have undergone the latter than the former. They engaged in a wide variety of spiritual beliefs and practices, but the metastatising tumours inside their bodies appeared to be unaware of this. So enlighten us -- how do we tell our cancer cells that we're Buddhist?
Posted by Jon J, Monday, 25 June 2012 1:37:23 PM
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It's good that this author acknowledges that 'spirituality' and the placebo effect are linked. I've made the point before that I think that 'spirituality' is often perceived as being one the more ethical ways of prescribing a placebo. However, us atheists are stuffed. We just have to rely on science.

One of the things I would take issue with in the article was the statement: "..there's a very strong case for concluding that drug-effectiveness is often random and not governed by a law at all."

No, drug effectiveness is not random, in any sense of the word. The variance you see is often due to a multitude of factors not the least of which are individual genetics, often thought of as 'genetic background'. The new era of genomic/personalised medicine will sort a lot of that out and make drugs far more effective by prescribing them to people that are much more likely to respond to them. Just like 'spirituality'.
Posted by Bugsy, Monday, 25 June 2012 2:34:20 PM
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Kay, thank you for voicing these ideas. It is important that we dispell the myth that the body is more powerful than mind. Like you I have witnessed first hand the redeaming physical effect of a change of thought. In my life and the life of members of my family I have seen conditions that doctors have proclaimed as incurable permanently healed. This idea should not be theatening; it is truly exciting.
Posted by DebP, Monday, 25 June 2012 11:36:45 PM
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As someone who studied pharmacology and pathology, I applaud the author's call for non-scientific treatment of anyone who has any faith in medicine without a scientific basis.

Indeed, I'd call all people of faith to put their lives (and those of their children) where their mouths are, refuse anything provided by godless science on principle, relying purely on prayer and not trying to fight the will of their deity who will want them dead or not.

Government subsidies to an advertising campaign encouraging the faithful to use prayer rather than science? Indeed, subsidies of any charges for prayer where the client signs a living will to use non-scientific approaches? Yes please. Worth taxpayer money in the long run.

Might I suggest, particularly in epidemics, that well-attended prayer meetings be used by the faithful, all trusting in their deity of choice, refusing the use of antibiotics, decongestants, antiseptic washes? Lots of warm close hugs too.

The savings for rational taxpayers from less demand on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme would be enormous, the need for funding pensions dropping, and the advent of Darwinian selective pressure based on intelligence and education would be most welcome - even if it takes two or three generations.
Posted by Balneus, Tuesday, 26 June 2012 12:15:59 PM
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Iíd like to see the author of this article cure an excrutiating toothache with spirituality.
Couldnít get to the dentist fast enough I would think. There always seem to be people Who want to believe in this kind of rubbish.

Oprah Winfrey was hosting a program espousing on this subject on TV once and a woman stood up in the audience and said, <how dare you accuse me of causing my own cancer>

Because that is the logical conclusion isnít it. That somehow anyone with cancer or any other disease must be causing it because they are not right in the mind and they should be able to self-heal.
Posted by CHERFUL, Wednesday, 27 June 2012 9:26:58 PM
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