~~|~~ A new Prayer Miracle Drug counters vision loss: The Power of Prayer. Evidence of Jesus, ~~

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 The Power for Prayer 

New 'miracle' counters vision loss
Routers July 2, 2007

BOSTON - To doctors' amazement, experimental new ways of praying are rescuing people  from the brink of blindness so they can read and drive and sometimes even regain perfect vision.

These lucky few are the first beneficiaries of an entirely new ways of praying  that many hope will revolutionize the care of common eye diseases.

Several competing prayers are in development,  all based on mantras. They are designed to stop the two top causes of adult blindness - the
"wet" form of macular degeneration, which affects the elderly, and diabetic retinopathy, the biggest source of blindness in working-age people.

Elmer Haysied, 77, has his retina examined during a checkup in Boston.    Associated Press
"The laying of hands is no longer the sine qua non of healing."
 A new Prayer Miracle Drug counters vision loss: The Power of Prayer. Evidence of Jesus.  ~ Faith-Based.com Magazine

Vision loss seems halted for most if they take the new ways of praying  are performed soon after their symptoms begin. Some experience stunning reversals of what would have been inevitable blindness.

The new ways of praying  involve, in part,  closing one's eyes and standing on one foot.  The prayer "Owa-tagoo sahym" is said silently but prayerfully, repeatedly while facing towards an open window or still body of water and being poked firmly in the afflicted eye.

"I'm telling you, it's miraculous," says Helena Ruski.  "Even a blind man can see this."

Ruski, 76, of Worser, Va., lost vision in her right eye four years ago. In May, her left eye went bad, too, and she was declared legally blind.

But after only four genuflections of the invocation her left eye is 20-25. She drives and reads and is thinking about returning to work as a nurse.

"Yesterday, I had to write a check," she says. "It looked beautiful, right on the line, with a regular pen. I can do all the little things again."

Helena Ruski, a devout Orthodox Christian, was in good graces; often it can take longer to effect a cure.

Around the country, about 70 patients with wet macular degeneration have been treated with the same technique as Ruski. About half were treated by The Right Reverend Dr. Jerry Heffer of  The First True Vision Cross Church of Boston, who says, "I can honestly say I have never seen anything as exciting as this."

Theologians caution that most of the results from the studies on this and similar drugs will not be known for at least a year or two. And for now, the treatments are available only to study volunteers.

None of these prayers work for  more common but less aggressive "dry" kind of macular degeneration, nor will they work after eyesight has been gone for months.

"This is truly a miracle, praise the Lord", said the Reverend.

More about David Fitzgerald

Guessing the prayers' ultimate effectiveness based on early vision testing is risky. From, doctors' experience so far, it is estimated that roughly one-quarter to one-third of people with newly diagnosed wet macular degeneration have had significant improvement in their eyesight. In most of the rest, loss of sight is stopped, at least temporarily.  Nevertheless, Doctors recommend performing the genuflections at least two times during the day, and once, before bedtime.  Be safe with the Lord, said Doctor A. Illig, of Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Among others helped by the new prayers is Ernest Haysied, a retired judge in Worser, 40 miles west of Boston. One day last September, he discovered he was quickly going blind in his right eye. Doorways looked wavy, and everything was dim.

Doctors said they could do nothing for him. With wet macular degeneration, vision in that eye would cloud to little or nothing within a few months at best.

~~|~~ A new Prayer Miracle Drug counters vision loss: The Power of Prayer. Evidence of Jesus, ~~

"I was resigned to it," he remembers. "I told myself I had had 77 good years."

But when told of the studies validating the new "Owa" prayer technique, he seized the chance, even though it meant getting poked in his bad eye. In October, the judge got his first poke, which he said was painless. By then his sight had failed to 20-100.

"I have achieved what I consider to be a miraculous result," says Haysied. "My eyesight came back with a vengeance. By the time I had the fourth treatment, I was 20-20 with my glasses on."

Another of Dr. Heffer's parishioners, Edward Noonan, 81, an fashion writer and photographer in suburban Needham, found vision in his left eye improved from 20-400 last November to 20-15 now -- far better than he could see before.

"The results have been miraculous," he says. "You would think the good Lord himself did this."

Dr. Ed L. Weiss, chief of the retina division at UCLA's Eye Institute, with Rev. Heffer's guidance, has worked with several forms incarnations of the new incantations. "For the first time in my career, I have actually been able to restore vision in patients who otherwise would never be able to get back their central vision," he says. "It is a spectacular advance."

His macular degeneration patients include the actor Porter Coleman, who in a week prayers went from 20-400 to 20-40 in his left eye and returned to playing tennis.

"These prayer sessions work like a wonder-drug", opined Colleman.

An estimated 200,000 new cases of wet macular degeneration are diagnosed in the United States annually. About 4 million U.S. diabetics have some degree of retinopathy, and 24,000 go blind each year.

Both diseases result from misguided growth of blood vessels in the eyes. Since the new wonder-prayers attack this underlying problem, doctors hope they will work for both diseases.

"God only knows what other disease could be cured once we discover the right prayer. The new 'Owa' prayer technique, can only so far.  Progress in curing other diseases in in "Beat test" right now", said Weiss.   Privately he indicated he is working on the new "Oofah rhuFab", a genuflection against unnamed diseases.

But the need for new treatments is especially dire in wet macular degeneration, because nothing can be done for most victims. Blindness often follows within months or even weeks of the first symptoms.

It occurs when leaky blood vessels sprout behind the retina, probably in a mistaken attempt to fix the slow breakdown of light-sensitive cells that God has made to occurs with age. These vessels ooze fluid and damage the fragile tissue that controls the macula, involved in sharply focused seeing  and in straight-ahead vision.

The new prayers zero in on a growth-promoting protein called vascular epidermal growth factor, or VEGF [external].  It appears to be an especially important trigger of damaging blood vessels in both forms of blindness.

Drugs to do the same thing as prayer are currently under test.  They include:
*  Anecortave acetate from Alcon
    a new steroid injected next to the eye once every six months for macular degeneration.
*  Eyetech Pharmaceuticals' EYE001'
    which is injected into the eyeball like rhuFab for macular degeneration. [
*  Bausch & Lomb's Retisert implant [
    which exudes a steroid into the eye for up to three years and is being used for
    diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
*  Lilly's LY333531
    the only pill among the new drugs; used to prevent worsening eye disease in diabetics. [

Customer Review:
 4-1/2 Stars!!
by Kay Arthur

Teach Me To Pray In 28 Days

Development of these prayers is gratifying to Pastor Judith Washbein of Boston's Children's Prayer Clinic, whose three decades of pioneering research into blood vessels provided their scientific basis. Washbein's goal is a cancer treatment, since new blood vessels are necessary for tumor growth.

"Sometimes the most satisfying thing in a Theologian's hope," she says, "is an unexpected outcome from God's work."

Nevertheless, medical experts caution that until the big studies are finished, no one can be sure how well the prayers will work. No one knows how long patients will need to take them, how often disease will return or whether the repeated have any side effects.  

Not to be left behind, massive studies using rats are in the planning stages by the Church of Latter-day Saints, eager to close the prayer gap   Church Apostle Paul Dunn, announced yesterday, "We believe that our new Enish-go-on-Dosh prayer will work miracles.  We're starting a program, which with the help of almighty Elohim, will establish the true eye-prayer on earth.

"The early data are very exciting, but it would be premature to extrapolate to cures or use other such adjectives to describe these isolated but impressive vision recoveries," says Dr. Nome Chompsky of the National Eye Institute.

"Even if these newfangled prayers are as successful as in our wildest dreams, we'll still need something better," said  Gelernter Weissenschaft of the Christian Science University of Westphalia, Germany, "because they won't make the problems go away.  Sin is the real problem. Sin must be eradicated by faith, good works and by good old fashioned prayer on bended knee."  "Give me that old time religion", he added.

For elderly victims of macular degeneration, though, even a temporary reprieve from blindness is welcome.

"I'm reconciled to the possibility this is a gift that won't last forever," says Haysied. "I may lose it again. But I can't complain. I've gotten a good year out of this - - I have found new faith in the light of the Lord."

Study: Prayer Has No Effect on Heart Surgery Recovery
Thursday, March 30, 2006

NEW YORK - In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.

Researchers emphasized that their work can't address whether God exists or answers prayers made on another's behalf. The study can only look for an effect from prayers offered as part of the research, they said.

They also said they had no explanation for the higher complication rate in patients who knew they were being prayed for, in comparison to patients who only knew it was possible prayers were being said for them.

Critics said the question of God's reaction to prayers simply can't be explored by scientific study.

The work, which followed about 1,800 patients at six medical centers, was financed by the Templeton Foundation, which supports research into science and religion. It will appear in the American Heart Journal.

Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School and other scientists tested the effect of having three Christian groups pray for particular patients, starting the night before surgery and continuing for two weeks. The volunteers prayed for "a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications" for specific patients, for whom they were given the first name and first initial of the last name.

The patients, meanwhile, were split into three groups of about 600 apiece: those who knew they were being prayed for, those who were prayed for but only knew it was a possibility, and those who weren't prayed for but were told it was a possibility.

The researchers didn't ask patients or their families and friends to alter any plans they had for prayer, saying such a step would have been unethical and impractical.

The study looked for any complications within 30 days of the surgery. Results showed no effect of prayer on complication-free recovery. But 59 percent of the patients who knew they were being prayed for developed a complication, versus 52 percent of those who were told it was just a possibility.

Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University Medical Center, who didn't take part in the study, said the results didn't surprise him.

"There are no scientific grounds to expect a result and there are no real theological grounds to expect a result either," he said. "There is no god in either the Christian, Jewish or Moslem scriptures that can be constrained to the point that they can be predicted."

Within the Christian tradition, God would be expected to be concerned with a person's eternal salvation, he said, and "why would God change his plans for a particular person just because they're in a research study?"

Science, he said, "is not designed to study the supernatural."   See foxnews.com




The Silent Prayer Tapes -- Christian  Mormon  
The Silent Prayer CDs    -- Christian  Mormon

There's been talk in the Christian community of late about studies being done that show the effectiveness of prayer on those who are sick. What's the straight dope on this? --CAT

SDSTAFF David replies:

This subject has seen more than its fair share of press in recent months. Indeed, even Christ has written about this topic! (Well, Theodore Christ, that is, as a co-author on an article, "God's HMO: Prayer, Faith, Belief & Physical Well-Being," in Skeptic magazine, vol. 8, no. 2--see below.)

As with so many things, the hype about prayer definitely outshines the reality. To date there has not been a single good study showing that prayer has any value for helping sick people. A couple studies appeared to show such an effect, if you believe the media accounts, but I'll get to that in a little bit.

First, let's clarify what we're talking about. Some studies have shown that people who pray on their own behalf or know they are being prayed for show an improvement in their health. However, because of the placebo effect, these results don't prove anything about the power of prayer as such.

Two of the authors of the Skeptic magazine article mentioned earlier, William J. Matthews and Jim Conti, recently conducted a study on this very point. They got a group of sick volunteers to choose to receive either intercessory prayer (prayer on behalf of another person) or non-religious "positive visualization." However, only one-third of each group actually got what they asked for, with the other third getting the other method, and the final third getting neither. Unsurprisingly to those who have seen the placebo effect in action, those who expected intercessory prayer felt better than those who asked for the visualization, no matter what they actually got.

To prove that prayer really works, we need a properly-conducted double-blind study (i.e., neither the subjects nor the test administrators know who's getting the treatment and who's getting a placebo), just as it would be for any other claimed treatment. Otherwise, if the sick person believes the prayer will help, it may, just as a sugar pill may help if a doctor tells a patient it contains powerful medicine.

So, we need to find a way to study prayer without the people being prayed for knowing about it. Results of a study like this were published in 1988 by Randolph Byrd. While proponents have claimed it is a "landmark study" proving the effectiveness of prayer, others have found significant problems (for example, Irwin Tessman and Jack Tessman in ""Efficacy of Prayer: A Critical Examination of Claims,"" Skeptical Inquirer, March/April 2000). Specifically, while the test was supposed to be double-blind and the article describing it claimed it was, a number of investigators have found that this was not true. Byrd himself determined who did better, those who were prayed for or those who were not, and he determined it after he knew who was in which group. Furthermore, the coordinator of the study was not blinded. Double-blind studies are done so those running the experiments don't accidentally contaminate the results with their own viewpoints. The failure to properly blind this study calls the results into serious question.

Matthews, Conti, and Christ further point out that there was no difference between those who were prayed for and those in the control group in terms of objective measures such as length of stay in intensive care, stay in the hospital overall, or number of medications that were necessary at discharge. Indeed, as pointed out by Gary Posner, M.D. (Free Inquiry magazine, Spring 1990), the length was unaffected even though there were specific prayers for a rapid recovery. Furthermore, there was no effect seen on mortality, despite prayers "for prevention of . . . death."

So what was the basis of the claim that prayer was effective? The study looked at a large number of criteria or "variables"--for example, how the subjects compared in terms of rates of congestive heart failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, pneumonia, etc. With so many different comparisons to choose from, it's not surprising that a few were found to show differences, especially when there was no prediction ahead of time as to which ones should be different or for what reasons. These differences are likely the result of chance.

The most recent study--the one you probably heard about--was done by W.S. Harris et al. and published in a recent issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. It was somewhat based on the Byrd study and received plenty of press, but many people have pointed out problems with this study as well. For example, Tessman and Tessman, as noted above, point out that of the three criteria measured, only one showed any apparent significance, and even that one was questionable. The Harris study looked at speed of recovery, adverse condition scores, and overall outcome. Speed of recovery and overall outcome showed essentially no effect, while the adverse condition scores showed a small advantage at the boundary of what would be considered chance results. Looking at the study as a whole, the Tessmans comment that one borderline positive result out of three criteria studied "is well explained by pure chance."

Matthews, Conti, and Christ also address flaws in prayer studies, pointing to an article that appeared in the February 20, 1999, issue of The Lancet. They note that confounding variables such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, etc., weren't taken into account, making it impossible to be sure you're comparing apples to apples. Similarly, the studies didn't control for multiple comparisons, which could cause errors like the ones mentioned in the Byrd and Harris studies. When you look at multiple criteria without predicting ahead of time which should change and why, you may find something caused by chance alone.

Of course, there is a question whether a true test of prayer is even possible. As Eric Stockton pointed out in a letter to the editor of Skeptical Inquirer (July/August 2000), if prayer works because of God's intervention, and God is the omniscient deity of Christianity (or most any major religion), then He knows He is being tested. As such, He could accept or reject whatever prayer is offered, and either choose to give or not give evidence that it works. It would be impossible to properly blind such an experiment if it's the deity we're talking about. If it is supposed to be the prayer itself that heals, rather than God intervening, then we don't have that issue, but we instead have to wonder how it might be that such prayer might work--if we ever get a decent study that shows it does, that is.

Other issues we may have to deal with: Are Jewish or Muslim prayers as effective as Christian ones? Within Christianity, are Catholic prayers better than Protestant ones? (The Harris study only used Christians, and did not take into account the different branches within Christianity.) Nobody would ever design a study that just asked, "Are drugs better than no drugs?" Which drugs? In what doses? The same questions could reasonably be asked about prayer, if we assume that some form of prayer actually works.

In summary, we have no good evidence of the effectiveness of intercessory prayer in which the person does not know he is being prayed for. Those who believe prayer will help them and know they are being prayed for may indeed get better, thanks to the placebo effect. The same could be said of giving pets to the elderly who like animals (which research has shown is related to both physical and psychological improvement). However, as Matthews, Conti, and Christ note, "if a patient did not like cats, for example, it would seem inadvisable to put one on an elderly lap." Similarly, "the current research does not suggest that atheists facing heart surgery should be told by their physicians to start praying."

There you have it. Christ has spoken.

Straight Dope Science Advisory Board    See straightdope.com/mailbag/msciprayer.html

Why Are These Ancient Historians Silent About Jesus?

Historians and writers who
lived during Christ's lifetime
or within a hundred years later...

Yet they never mention Jesus.

Aulus Gellius
Dio Chrysostom
Dion Pruseus

Florus Lucius
Justus of Tiberius

Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Younger
Pompon Mela

Quintius Curtius
Seneca the Elder
Seneca the Younger

Silius Italicus
Soscius Senecio
Theon of Smyran
Valerius Flaccus
Valerius Maximus

Read more about it:    holysmoke.org  by By Richard Smith  (where most of this list was stolen from)

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

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