When religion and health mix

Ever notice that most hospitals have chapels and clergy? In a survey of 1,144 U.S. doctors published in a leading medical journal, 85 percent said that religion and spirituality have a positive effect on health. In addition:

76 percent said faith can help people cope with illness.
74 percent said it helps ill people think in a positive way.
55 percent thought religious groups provided good emotional and practical support to the sick.
54 percent believe that at times, a supernatural being intervenes in health care.

That said, only 6 percent of the doctors polled think that being religious or spiritual can change a medical outcome.

Some data do suggest, though, that people of faith may live longer. And another study found that those with religious ties were three times more likely to survive open-heart surgery. But much more research is needed to see if this relationship is valid.

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