Well, the data is finally in from the long-awaited MANTRA prayer study at Duke University's Clinical Research Institute. Cardiologist and principal investigator Mitch Krucoff reported disappointing results from his randomized, controlled, multi-centered pilot study that compared intercessory prayer with a combination of music, imagery and touch (MIT) therapies, and standard care. The earlier study that inspired this one had suggested that prayer created more positive outcomes in heart surgery patients; and certainly Henry Bennett's study with imagery and Elvira Lang's with hypnosis showed significant results on surgical outcomes.
But this study showed no differences between prayer, MIT and standard care.
The measureable outcomes were combined in-hospital major adverse cardiovascular events and 6-month readmission or death. Prespecified secondary outcomes were 6-month major adverse cardiovascular events, 6 month death or readmission, and 6-month mortality.
In the study, 371 patients were assigned prayer and 377 no prayer; 374 were assigned MIT therapy and 374 no MIT therapy. The factorial distribution was: standard care only, 192; prayer only, 182; MIT therapy only, 185; and both prayer and MIT therapy, 189.
No significant difference was found for the primary composite outcome in any treatment comparison. Mortality at 6 months was lower with MIT therapy than with no MIT therapy (hazard ratio 0.35 (95% CI 0.15-0.82, p=0.016). The study found that neither blinded prayer nor MIT therapy significantly improved clinical outcome after elective catheterisation or percutaneous coronary intervention.
Citation: Krucoff MW, Crater SW, Gallup D, Blankenship JC, Cuffe M, Guarneri M, Krieger RA, Kshettry VR, Morris K, Oz M, Pichard A, Sketch MH Jr, Koenig HG, Mark D, Lee KL. Music, imagery, touch, and prayer as adjuncts to interventional cardiac care: the Monitoring and Actualisation of Noetic Trainings (MANTRA) II randomised study. Lancet. 2005 Jul 16-22; 366 (9481): pages 211-7. firstname.lastname@example.org