Well, the first round of Mitch Krucoff's and Suzanne Crater's MANTRA prayer study has been collated and published. The results, even in pilot form, are intriguing.
The Duke University randomized clinical trials examined the effects of applying 4 CAM therapies - stress relaxation, imagery, touch therapy, and prayer - to cardiac patients in acute coronary intervention settings, such as the angiography lab – to measure their effects on short- and long-term procedural outcomes, including mortality. 150 Patients were randomized across 5 treatment groups: the 4 noetic conditions and standard care. Records were checked for post-procedure ischemia, death, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and urgent revascularization. Mortality was followed up for 6 months after hospitalization. Although results were not statistically significant because of the low numbers in each condition, there was a 25% to 30% absolute reduction in adverse effects in patients treated with any of the noetic therapies, as compared to standard therapy. And the lowest complication rates of all were observed in patients assigned to off-site prayer. Noetic therapies appeared to show greater reductions in complication rates especially in patients who had a high level of spiritual belief, a high level of personal spiritual activity, a low level of community-based religious involvement, or a high level of anxiety. The study concluded that patients easily accepted the four CAM therapies; that the logistics were feasible; and that the outcomes indicated therapeutic benefit. Of all the interventions, off-site intercessory prayer had the lowest short- and long-term complication rates. However, in order to conclusively demonstrate this, a study with four times the number of subjects would be required. Such a study is currently underway.