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InvisibleRavus
Not an EggshellWalker
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Registered: 07/18/03
Posts: 7,991
Loc: Cave of the Patriarchs
Study Says No Power of Will over Death
    #3533082 - 12/22/04 09:25 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Study Challenges Notion on Death, Holidays

Dec 22, 9:04 AM (ET)

By LINDSEY TANNER

CHICAGO (AP) - Death takes no holiday, according to a study that challenges the widely held notion that dying people can somehow hold on until after Christmas or other important events in their lives.

Donn Young, a biostatistician at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center who studied more than 300,000 cancer patients, said the supposed phenomenon is mostly based on wishful thinking and selective memories.

"The mind does play a role in illness," he said. "But the idea that death is something that an individual patient can control by sheer force of will - just from looking at the data, this doesn't appear to be so."

Some doctors and nurses who work with gravely ill people are not convinced by the findings, arguing that the statistics do not tell the human side of the story.

Young and statistician Erinn Hade looked at Ohio death certificates for people who died of cancer from 1989 to 2000 and analyzed how many deaths occurred before and after three dates - Christmas, Thanksgiving and the person's birthday.

"If there was an effect, you'd see a dip before ... and an increase after," Young said. But there was no dip, and no significant difference in the proportion of cancer patients dying before an event and those dying after.

The study was published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

"I can't believe they'd put this out right before Christmas," said Dr. Daniel Loiterstein, a specialist in geriatric psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. "It's like walking around and telling people there's no Santa Claus."

Loiterstein said the study does not take into account individual situations and fails to consider that events other than holidays might be more important for some dying patients.

"We have all had the experience of watching a patient wanting to be there for their daughter's wedding day, a grandfather wanting to be there for the grandson's bar mitzvah or a Communion," Loiterstein said. "I don't think we should ever discount the power of hope and the power of these emotional events to move patients."

Other studies supporting the phenomenon include University of California at San Diego sociologist David Phillips' research showing declines in death rates among Jewish men before Passover and among elderly Chinese women before the Harvest Moon Festival.

Young said it is possible that the numbers of people wanting to hang on were evenly balanced by those wishing to die before the event. But he doubts it.

"I just don't think that a patient wishes to die 'early' and 'to get it over with' - particularly when we seem to put an emphasis on a courageous 'fight' against cancer," he said.

Nancy Whetstone, a Columbus, Ohio, executive whose parents both died in 1999 between Thanksgiving and Christmas, said she agrees with the findings.

"I don't think people hang on for a specific event; I think when it's their time, it's their time," she said.

But Pauline King, a nurse at Ohio State's Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, recalled an ailing, single mother of four who had advanced breast cancer and managed to fulfill her wish to survive until after her daughter's 18th birthday.

"Maybe it happens less than we think, but when it happens, it sticks in your mind," King said. "These people have a raison d'etre."
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041222/D874NTN80.html


--------------------
So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleGustavius
Stranger
Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 22
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: Ravus]
    #3533122 - 12/22/04 09:36 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

as if one could study the human will on a chart of number. hope is importnat no matter what you sciene-types liek to belief. i think that posting this type of junk science is aktully a form of bating.


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InvisibleDNKYD
Turtle!

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 12,326
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: Gustavius]
    #3533500 - 12/22/04 11:14 PM (11 years, 11 months ago)

So the study of statistics is "junk science" :rolleyes:
Hope is just confidence that something will happen. However, confidence that something will happen doesn't require logical or rational thinking.


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Invisiblefearfect
Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 1,845
Loc: Flag
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: DNKYD]
    #3533982 - 12/23/04 12:34 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

hence, religion


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InvisibleDNKYD
Turtle!

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 12,326
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: fearfect]
    #3534001 - 12/23/04 12:41 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

fearfect said:
hence, religion




A very unfortunate event in human history.


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Offlineoceansize
fuckin' right.

Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 216
Last seen: 10 years, 1 month
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: DNKYD]
    #3534176 - 12/23/04 01:33 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

I seem to remeber Sagan writing something about Chinese grandmothers and a holiday they traditionally organize and play a big part in.  The statistics were noticed first where there was a dip for the weeks of the holiday's preparations and an increase after.

Perhaps the fact the study was done on terminal cancer patients had something to do with the results, and old age is a different matter.  I am going to look into this :smile:


--------------------
"And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh." - Friedrich Nietzsche



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OfflineZekebomb
sociophagus

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 1,164
Loc: BC province
Last seen: 9 years, 2 months
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: oceansize]
    #3534653 - 12/23/04 03:59 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

the taste of rain
--why kneel?

is not, strictly speaking, a haiku


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OfflineGazzBut
Refraction

Registered: 10/15/02
Posts: 4,733
Loc: London UK
Last seen: 3 months, 29 days
Re: Study Says No Power of Will over Death [Re: Ravus]
    #3534995 - 12/23/04 08:13 AM (11 years, 11 months ago)

Well lots of opinions and a few statistics that dont actually prove anything tangible.


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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