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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 26, 2007 / 10 Tamuz, 5767

Religion, spirituality impact patients' healing, scientists say

By Rebecca Rosen Lum


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Carla Dodd was 43 and pregnant with her second child when two rapid-fire brain hemorrhages threatened to end her life.

Her husband, John, is a medical malpractice attorney — logical, analytical.

But Dodd says he thinks prayer — by friends, fellow congregants and strangers as far away as Africa — had much to do with his wife's long-shot recovery.

Scientists are taking a hard look at the value of faith as an instrument in healing — including the "intercessory" or healing prayers said on behalf of others.

Numerous studies show a link between faith and outlook, faith and well-being, faith and healing times.

Scientists at such prestigious institutions as California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Duke University in North Carolina, and the George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health in the nation's capital are exploring the relationship of prayer and faith to healing.

More than half of physicians in an April survey by a group at the University of Chicago said that religion and spirituality significantly influence patients' health.

But the exact mechanism by which it works remains elusive.

"Does it change your blood markers?" asked neuropsychiatrist James Duffy, president and CEO of the Institute of Religion and Health in Houston. "You're going to see a lot of research directed at that over the next few years."

Religion can help those with chronic conditions, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and arthritis, say the authors of a study at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

"Religion is infrequently discussed in rehabilitation settings and is rarely investigated in rehabilitation research," said University of Missouri health psychologist Brick Johnstone. "To better meet the needs of persons with disabilities, this needs to change."

To inquire about a patient's religious beliefs "is no different than inquiring about their sexual, psychological, substance use and legal histories," said Johnstone, who directs the university's Spirituality and Health Research Project.

"Our goal is to bring to the conversation that health is more than fixing your body," Duffy said. "Health is a transformative process that involves healing the spirit."

Hospital officials have long left patients' spiritual needs in the hands of chaplains, but they increasingly are reaching out to faith communities.

Parish, or faith community nursing, which combines spiritual and health services, has exploded since the American Nursing Association recognized the specialty in 2005.

Today, an estimated 10,000 faith community nurses work in American congregations.

John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif., recently advertised for a supervising nurse with theological education. The new manager will offer support to nurses who work in religious congregations.

"We have a mission statement that says faith plays a role in healing," said Dwayne Michael, director of pastoral care at John Muir. "We do a spiritual assessment (of each patient)."

"With the exception of hospital chaplains, a focus on the spirit is not often found in the delivery of health care," said Rebecca Faith, who counsels, instructs and refers parishioners at First Congregational Church of Oakland, Calif. "Parish nurses fill that gap."

Faith works as a nurse practitioner at the University of California-San Francisco and is a registered nurse at Alta Bates Summit Hospital in Oakland.

Many chronic health problems have at their root a spiritual as well as a physiological dysfunction, she said.

"I see an epidemic of anxiety and fatigue among women. I will say, 'How's your spiritual life?' and (a woman) will say, `I used to meditate but I don't anymore.'"

A spiritual emptiness helps spur addiction, and irreverence for the body as a sacred vessel can lead to disorders such as obesity and hypertension, she said.

"What do I do with them? I pray, I enter into an I-thou divine relationship and I covenant with the community," she said. "I speak to their values and beliefs."

Many of her patients believe in intercessory prayer, she said.

In San Francisco, a leading researcher in mind-body medicine found a positive link between intercessory prayer and the well-being of people with AIDS.

Prayed-for patients in a study by late University of California-San Francisco professor Elizabeth Targ had fewer setbacks and lived longer than a comparison group. A follow-up study found the same results. Targ later found a link between spirituality and well-being among women with breast cancer.

A connection notwithstanding, Jeff Leinen, medical director of the emergency department at Sutter Delta Hospital in Antioch, Calif., has qualms about medical practitioners assuaging the spirit. For one thing, it is too easy to impose one's faith on a patient, he said.

Leinen says a prayer before he performs a procedure or when a patient dies, "but I say it quietly, and to myself."

"Everybody has their own faith and belief," he said. "You have to be very, very careful."

Some academics recoil at the blurring of the line between faith and health care, saying prayer, meditation, and other faith practices resist definition or measurement.

Far more studies show no link between religious belief and healing than a positive one, said Richard Sloan, a Columbia University behavioral medicine professor and the author of "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine." Suggesting one can mislead people and put an unfair burden on them, he said.

"Look, nobody disputes that religion and spirituality bring comfort in a time of difficulty, but when spirituality is brought into medical care, it is another issue entirely," he said.

"It can do all sort of harm because it causes people to confuse medical care with other aspects of their lives," he said. "It can lead them to avoid conventional medical care. And it can lead them to believe their health problems are from inadequate faith and devotion."

John Dodd, whose wife and daughter are now healthy, smiled when he was told about Sloan's skepticism.

"He doesn't realize there is so much to the art of medicine that is unknown," he said. "(Doctors) don't know everything because a lot of it isn't in their hands — the unknown, the unpredictable, the unforeseeable."

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