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The Harvard Prayer Experiment The study: With support from the Templeton Foundation, cardiologist Herbert Benson and his colleagues randomly assigned 1802 cardiac bypass patients to one of three conditions: * those told they may or may not be prayed for (and who weren't) * those told they may or may not be prayed for (and who were) * those told they would be prayed for (and who were) David's 1997 statement (PDF) suggesting "Why People of Faith Can Predict Null Effects in the Harvard Prayer Experiment" Templeton Foundation synopsis: "The Largest Study of Third-Party Remote Intercessory Prayer Suggests Prayer Not Effective in Reducing Complications Following Heart Surgery" American Heart Journal synopsis of the study and its results
Did prayer lower blood pressure? The August 31, 1998 issue of Jet Magazine questioned whether prayer could lower blood pressure in high blood pressure sufferers, Again the obvious conclusion was reached. The magazine reported of a study conducted by Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. This study had over 4,000 participants over the age of 65. The study found that those who pray and attend religious services on a weekly basis, especially those between the ages of 65 and 74, had lower blood pressure than their counterparts who did not pray or attend religious services. They found that the more religious the person, particularly those who prayed or studied the Bible weekly, the lower the blood pressure. According to the study these people were forty percent less likely to have high diastolic pressure or diastolic hypertension than these were who did not attend religious services, pray, or study the Bible. Dr. David B. Larson, president of the National Institute for Health Care Research in Rockville, MD, who co-authored the study, also says that prayer can lower high blood pressure. "The at-risk population of people with illnesses, such as the elderly seem to be helped if they have faith and religious commitment." Dr. Larson states: "Faith brings a calming state which helps decrease nervousness and anxiety with coping with day to day stress."