Thursday, July 12, 2012

Distant Healing of Surgical Wounds


Marilyn Schlitz, Harriet W. Hopf, Loren Eskenazi, Cassandra Vieten, and Dean Radin, 
Explore, 2012; 8: 223-230

Background: Distant healing intention (DHI) is one of the most common complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) healing modalities, but clinical trials to date have provided ambivalent support for its efficacy. One possible reason is that DHI effects may involve variables that are sensitive to unknown, uncontrolled, or uncontrollable factors.

Objective: To examine 2 of those potential variables— expectation and belief—we explored the effects of DHI on objective and psychosocial measures associated with surgical wounds in 72 women undergoing plastic surgery.

Design: Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: blinded and receiving DHI (DH), blinded and not receiving DHI (control), and knowing that they were receiving DHI (expectancy). Outcome measures included collagen deposition in a surrogate wound and several self-report measures. DHI was provided by experienced distant healers. 

No differences in the main measures were observed across the three groups. Participants’ previous belief in the efficacy of DHI was negatively correlated with the status of their mental health at the end of the study (P = .04, 2-tailed), and healers’ perceptions of the quality of their  subjective “contact” with the participants were negatively correlated both with change in mood (P = .001) and with collagen deposition (P = .04). A post-hoc analysis found that among participants assigned to receive DHI under blinded conditions, those undergoing reconstructive surgery after breast cancer treatment reported significantly better change in mood than those who were undergoing purely elective cosmetic surgery (P = .004).

Conclusion: If future DHI experiments confirm the post-hoc observations, then some of the ambiguity observed in earlier DHI studies may be attributable to interactions among participants’ and healers’ beliefs, their expectations, and their motivations.

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Note: The first line in the Results paragraph above appears in the printed article as the last line in the Design paragraph. That line should be as shown here given that it is reporting results.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

One more time

Okay already! Enough with the god particle! (For those of you who aren't movie fans, this photo is from a famous scene in the movie Pulp Fiction.)

The combined 4.9 sigma result reported for the Higgs boson is hailed as a stunning achievement that took trillions of recorded events, billions of dollars, and thousands of scientists.

By contrast, several classes of combined psi effects already provide empirical results that are much, much greater than 5 sigma, with hardly any funding and a few handfuls of scientists working the problem.

Some future day when physical theories tackle the mysterious boundary between objective and subjective realities, they'll start to predict psi effects (I believe that day is inevitable). When that happens psi data will suddenly make sense. Then I'll have to change the image caption to "Say psi particle one more goddamn time."