Mar 18, 2009 | 11
Terminally ill cancer patients who lean heavily on religion to deal with their disease are about three times more likely than others in their shoes to receive aggressive treatment during their final days, according to a new study.
"Patients who rely more heavily on religion to cope are more likely to receive intensive life-prolonging care at the end of life," says Andrea Phelps, a senior internal medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. and co-author of the study published online yesterday in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Phelps and her colleagues based their finding on interviews of more than 300 terminally ill patients being treated at cancer centers (in Connecticut, Texas, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire) about their use of religion as a coping mechanism. Among their queries: whether the patients were "seeking God's love and care" or were "looking for a stronger connection with God."
Mar 13, 2009 | 29
Jesus has been "found" in tree bark, windows and even Cheetos, but now researchers have been able to map where he—or at least religion—pops up in the brain.
Scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA this week that they pinpointed where in the brain different types of religious thoughts originate. According to the study, religious musings occur in a variety of regions, confirming previous research showing there is no single "God Spot" in the brain from whence all spiritual thoughts emerge.
Study co-author Jordan Grafman, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at the National Institutes of Health, says that recalling a religious experience activates the same brain areas as more mundane musings, such as remembering, say, what you ate for lunch yesterday. And pondering God? Pretty much the same brain patterns as thinking about people you've never met such as historical figures or movie stars.
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