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Editor's Correspondence
June 26, 2000

No Effect of Intercessory Prayer Has Been Proven

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(12):1872-1873. doi:

In the recent article by Harris et al,1 the effects of remote, intercessory prayer on the medical course of patients in the coronary care unit (CCU) had borderline statistical significance at best. Of 40 measures (35 Mid America Heart Institute–Cardiac Care Unit [MAHI-CCU] score components, the weighted and unweighted overall MAHI-CCU scores, length of CCU stay, length of hospital stay, and Byrd score), 2 were significant (P<.05). One in 20 is classically what one would expect to be significant by chance; the 2 significant measures reported by Harris et al were the overall MAHI-CCU scores—essentially the same thing.