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A Prayer Before Dying

Wired – A Prayer Before Dying: “the astonishing story of a doctor who subjected faith to the rigors of science – and then became a test subject herself”, by Po Bronson:

In July 1995, back when AIDS was still a death sentence, psychiatrist Elisabeth Targ and her co-researchers enrolled 20 patients with advanced AIDS in a randomized, double-blind pilot study at the UC San Francisco Medical Center. All patients received standard care, but psychic healers prayed for the 10 in the treatment group. The healers lived an average of 1,500 miles away from the patients. None of the patients knew which group they had been randomly assigned to, and thus whether they were being prayed for. During the six-month study, four of the patients died
  • a typical mortality rate. When the data was unblinded, the researchers learned that the four who had died were in the control group. All 10 who were prayed for were still alive.

But read on — it’s not as simple as all that…