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Schwartz S.A.,Samueli Institute
Explore (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2010

All research domains are based upon epistemological assumptions. Periodic reassessment of these assumptions is crucial because they influence how we interpret experimental outcomes. Perhaps nowhere is this reassessment needed more than in the study of prayer and intention experiments. For if positive results from this field of research are sustained, the reality of nonlocal consciousness must be confronted. This paper explores the current status of healing and intention research, citing a number of major studies and using the "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Surgery Patients: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Uncertainty and Certainty of Receiving Intercessory Prayer" as a case study of this line of research. The paper argues that the dose-dependent model typical of drug trials, and adopted for use in the STEP and other studies, is not the optimal model for intention-healing research, and critiques this approach in detail, citing apposite research from which we draw our recommendations and conclusions. The paper suggests that the usual assumptions concerning blindness and randomization that prevail in studies using the pharmacological model must be reappraised. Experimental data suggest that a nonlocal relationship exists among the various individuals participating in a study, one which needs to be understood and taken seriously. We argue that it is important to account for and understand the role of both local and nonlocal observer effects, since both can significantly affect outcome. Research is presented from an array of disciplines to support why the authors feel these issues of linkage, belief, and intention are so important to a successful, accurate, and meaningful study outcome. Finally, the paper offers suggestions for new lines of research and new protocol designs that address these observer-effect issues, particularly the nonlocal aspects. The paper finally suggests that if these effects occur in intention studies, they must necessarily exist in all studies, although in pharmacological studies they are often overshadowed by the power of chemical and biological agents. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Eisenberg D.M.,Samueli Institute | Eisenberg D.M.,Harvard University
Academic Medicine | Year: 2015

In an era when rates of obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases challenge medical educators and governments worldwide, it is necessary to consider novel educational strategies, both didactic and experiential, whereby current and future health professionals can be better prepared to proactively advise and teach patients enhanced self-care skills (e.g., diet, movement, stress management, and enhanced behavioral change). In this Perspective, the authors summarize current circumstances involving rising rates of obesity and diabetes worldwide, the lack of nutrition-and lifestyle-related curricular requirements for professional medical certification, societal trends regarding modern food culture and food availability in health care settings, and the misalignment of financial incentives to promote health. The authors assess what elements of self-care should or should not be required within future curricula and certification exams. They consider how best to educate trainees about diet and how to "translate" nutrition, exercise, and behavioral science knowledge into practical advice. They explore several ideas for reforming nutrition education, including "teaching kitchens" as required laboratory classes for nutrition and lifestyle instruction, wearable technologies for tracking behaviors and physiological data relating to lifestyle choices, and the prospect of hospitals and other medical venues serving as exemplars of healthy, delicious food options. Finally, the authors argue that "salutogenesis"-the study of the creation and maintenance of health and well-being-should assume its rightful position alongside the study of "pathogenesis"-disease diagnosis and treatment-in medical education and practice. Source

Jonas W.B.,Samueli Institute | Jonas W.B.,Georgetown University
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

The terms 'placebo' and 'placebo effects' cause confusion among patients, practitioners and scientists. This confusion results in both the adoption of practices that have no evidence of specificity yet considerable risk (such as surgery for low back pain) or the elimination of clinical practices proven to facilitate healing because they are not 'better than placebo' (such as acupuncture for low back pain). In this article, I discuss these issues and introduce the concept of optimal healing environment as a framework for disentangling what is useful from placebo research for adopting into clinical practice in a manner that is ethical and evidence-based. © 2011 The Royal Society. Source

Cook I.A.,Samueli Institute | Espinoza R.,Human Longevity | Leuchter A.F.,University of California at Los Angeles
Neurosurgery Clinics of North America | Year: 2014

Major depressive disorder is among the most disabling illnesses and, despite best practices with medication and psychotherapy, many patients remain ill even after several treatment trials. For many of these patients with treatment-resistant or pharmacoresistant depression, treatment with neuromodulation offers an alternative. Options range from systems that are implanted to others that are entirely noninvasive. This review surveys recent literature to update readers on 3 particular interventions: deep brain stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and trigeminal nerve stimulation. Additional comparative research is needed to delineate the relative advantages of these treatments, and how best to match individual patients to neuromodulation intervention. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Schwartz S.A.,Samueli Institute
Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing | Year: 2010

Two hundred years of reductive materialism has failed to explain the extraordinary experiences we know as moments of genius, religious epiphany, and psychic insight. This paper proposes that these three experiences are in essence the same experience, differentiated only by intention and context. It reaches this conclusion based on well-conducted experimental research across the continuum of sciencework that proposes a new interdependent model of consciousness that takes into consideration a nonlocal linkage or entanglement, as an aspect of consciousness not limited by space and time. The paper surveys some of the most important relevant research from quantum biology, physics, psychology, medicine, anthropology, and parapsychology. It proposes that more attention should be paid to the autobiographies, correspondence, and journals of men and women to whom history unequivocally accords the designation of genius, saint, or psychic, offering examples from these sources. And it presents comparisons between ethnohistorical material and spiritual traditions, suggesting they arrive at a similar worldview. Finally, it proposes that meditation research, some examples of which are cited, be seen in the context of psychophysical self-regulation, and that it offers one powerful avenue for producing these exceptional experiences. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

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