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Monday, October 22, 2007

Depressing Results for Cancer Patients

More confusing results when it comes to the effect emotions and emotional states play in health coming from - where else? - the United States, where pharmaceutical companies reign supreme and drug-therapy is the end-all, be-all of medical science.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania followed the progression of more than 1000 cancer victims and found that a positive outlook on their condition appeared to have no medical result as to whether or not the disease progressed or regressed. Some cancer specialists called the results "reassuring," as cancer patients are often expected to deal with their affliction valiantly, even when they do not feel like doing so. Others noted that a positive outlook helps survivors get back to a normal life sooner, which often does play an important role in their condition and recovery.

To be honest, I have often wondered about the effects of "positive thinking," because I have tried to adopt a positive outlook in the face of adversity and only rarely (if ever) found it helpful. In fact, I have generally found it more emotionally-draining than just being the negative whiner that I naturally am! But I have tempered my personal outlook on such things by the fact that I am a doom-and-gloom kind of cat by nature, and maintaining a positive attitude is not only hard for me but I often find myself wavering; in other words, I can never be too sure just how optimistic I am.

But the US is so well-known for being swayed by Big Business (it's true, it's damn true!) and the pharmaceutical companies are forever pushing dope on everyone for everything, I just do not know how much the results of this research can be trusted. The report does not say who funded the research nor for how long the research was undertaken.

Do I sound cynical? That has no bearing on my opinion of these "findings."

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