Faith Might Improve a Person's Chance of Surviving Surgery
Faith heals -- that's the conclusion reached by a report recently released by The National Institute for Healthcare Research.
Being both socially active and finding strength and comfort in religious faith might improve a person's chance of surviving surgery. Here are a few facts:
For instance, those who either participated in group activities or received strength and support from religion were three times less likely to die during the six months after surgery than those people who had experienced neither of the two characteristics.
- In a recent study, researchers discovered that elderly patients were 14 times less likely to die following surgery if they were both socially active and found solace in their faith.
- The more religious the greater the protective effect. In a study of 232 patients, 55 years or older, who underwent elective heart surgery, conducted by the University of Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire, none of the 37 percent who described themselves as "deeply religious" died. Only 5 percent who attended church infrequently died, but 12 percent of those who rarely or never attended died.
- More socially active patients also had higher survival rates. Only 4 percent of the patients who engaged in organized groups such as local government, a church supper group, a senior center or a historical society had died compared to 14 percent of the uninvolved.
- Although the effects of social involvement and degree of religious commitment were independent, a patient with both had the greatest risk reduction.
Those possessing both positive characteristics were 14 times more likely to survive than those with neither social or religious support.
Although they could not explain precisely how these factors lead to longer life, researchers concluded that encouraging these actitivities may improve quality of life and alter survival behaviors.
The National Institute for Healthcare Research (NIHR) is a private, non-profit research institute in the Washington, D.C. area with research fellows across the nation. NIHR research addresses frequently overlooked or understudied social and spiritual factors in physical and mental health.(NAPSI)
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