John Astin, PhD; Elaine Harkness, BSc; Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD
The Editors welcome submissions for possible publication in the Letters section. Authors of letters should:
•Include no more than 300 words of text, three authors, and five references
•Type with double-spacing
•Send three copies of the letter, an authors' form signed by all authors, and a cover letter describing any conflicts of interest related to the contents of the letter.
Letters commenting on an Annals article will be considered if they are received within 6 weeks of the time the article was published. Only some of the letters received can be published. Published letters are edited and may be shortened; tables and figures are included only selectively. Authors will be notified that the letter has been received. If the letter is selected for publication, the author will be notified about 3 weeks before the publication date. Unpublished letters cannot be returned.
Annals welcomes electronically submitted letters.
Astin J., Harkness E., Ernst E.; Distant Healing. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:533. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-6-200103200-00026
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;134(6):533.
We continue to stand by what we feel is a reasonably cautious and conservative interpretation of the findings. Because 57% of the trials we examined did show a significant effect on at least one outcome (and the overall pooled effect size was significant), we do feel that, at a minimum, additional research should be carried out in these areas. While it is true that the results were not uniformly positive, the mathematical odds (based on a simple binomial test) that 13 of 23 studies would show a significant treatment effect (P < 0.05) are greater than 1 in a million. It is therefore unlikely that these results are due to chance alone. However, as we noted, it is true that the single-blind designs used in the Therapeutic Touch studies cannot entirely rule out a placebo effect (although the designs in the other trials did theoretically rule out such an explanation because patients had no presumable way to know whether they were receiving distant healing). As we note in our paper, several studies had some methodologic problems. However, overall the trials we reviewed were judged to be of fairly high methodologic quality (1). With regard to the specific issues concerning two of the prayer studies, we refer readers to a recent exchange (2, 3) about these matters.
to gain full access to the content and tools.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only