Angry Doctor

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ci Bei Hospital to study effect of sutras on patients

The post on the clinical effect of prayer got me thinking: what if the concept was carried over to the local scene and to its ridiculous conclusion?

Bonus Bogus Story

Singapore -

Ci Bei Hospital, the largest chronic-sick hospital in Singapore, will be conducting clinical trials on the effects of recordings of sutras-chanting on patients.

This was announced by the Head of Clinical Trial Division, Venerable Chen-tao, at a press conference today.

‘We noticed that the families of many of our patients have placed audio-players that played recordings of the sutras being chanted by monks in loop by their bedside as a means of praying for the good health and comfort for the patients. This led us to wonder if the positive effects of such recordings can be proven or measured clinically.’

Several studies in the west have shown that prayer has a positive effect on clinical outcomes in patients. (See
related story.)

Ci Bei Hospital has tied up with local IT company Derivative in this study. Derivative will develop and donate MP3 players in the shape of a statuette of the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva. Nick-named the i-Bodh, the MP3 player will be made to play a recording of the Amitabha Sutra chanted by the monks at the Ci Bei Temple for a total of eight hours a day.

‘We are very optimistic about this study, as it marks a few ‘firsts’. It is the first of its kind to be conducted in Asia, and the first one done on Buddhist sutras, and the first one done using recording rather than ‘live’ prayers,’ said Venerable Chen-tao.

Patients will be randomly assigned to two groups, and one of the groups will be provided with the i-Bodh. The progress of each group will be monitored.

‘If there is any significant improvement in the group for which the sutra is being chanted, it will mean that Ci Bei should look into providing this service for all our patients. But even if there are no objective clinical improvements, I believe that the comfort provided by the sutras will be welcomed by the patients.’

Preliminary results of the trial are expected in the middle of next year.

Additonal Disclaimer

angry doc has the utmost respect for Buddhism and any religious and/or charitable organisation which may be construed to be alluded to in this story - but let's face it: even a totally fictional story needs a context.



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