Sunday, November 11, 2012


A growing number of researches demonstrate that the mind and body are closely intertwined. Our attitudes, thoughts, beliefs and emotions play a significant role in our health and well-being.  Let us see three interesting researches done on the subject.

Dr Bruno Klopfer of the University of California was treating a man named Wright who had advanced cancer of the lymph nodes in 1957. All standard treatments had been exhausted, and Wright appeared to have little time left. His neck, armpits, chest, abdomen, and groin were filled with tumors in the size of oranges, and his spleen and liver were so enlarged that two quarts of milky fluid had to be drained out of his chest every day.

But Wright did not want to die. He had heard about an exciting new drug called Krebiozen and he was confident that a new anticancer drug called Krebiozen would cure him. He begged his doctor to let him try it. At first his doctor refused because the drug was only being tried on people with a life expectancy of at least three months. But Wright was adamant.  His doctor finally gave in. He gave Wright an injection of Krebiozen on a Friday, but in his heart of hearts he did not expect Wright to last the weekend. Then the doctor went home.

To his surprise, on the following Monday, he found Wright out of bed and walking around. Klopfer reported that his tumors had "melted like snowballs on a hot stove" and were half their original size. This was a far more rapid decrease in size than even the strongest X-ray treatments could have accomplished.

Ten days after Wright's first Krebiozen treatment, he left the hospital and was, as far as his doctors could tell, cancer free. When he had entered the hospital, he had needed an oxygen mask to breathe, but when he left he was well enough to fly his own plane at 12,000 feet with no discomfort.

Wright remained well for about two months, but then articles began to appear asserting that Krebiozen actually had no effect on cancer of the lymph nodes.  Wright, who has rigidly logical and scientific in his thinking, became very depressed. He suffered a relapse, and was readmitted to the hospital. This time his physician decided to try an experiment.

He told Wright that Krebiozen was every bit as effective as it had seemed, but that some of the initial supplies of the drug had deteriorated during shipping. He explained, however, that he had a new highly concentrated version of the drug and could treat Wright with this. Of course, the physician did not have a new version of the drug and intended to inject Wright with plain water. To create the proper atmosphere he even went through an elaborate procedure before injecting Wright with the placebo.

Again the results were dramatic. Tumor masses melted, chest fluid vanished, and Wright was quickly back on his feet and feeling great. He remained symptom-free for another two months, but then the American Medical Association announced that a nationwide study of Krebiozen had found the drug worthless in the treatment of cancer.  This time Wright's faith was completely altered. His cancer blossomed anew and he died two days later.

Studies in psycho-neuro-immunology (the mind-body connection) actually show that our beliefs even have the capacity to override the biochemical function of a drug.  Dr. Henry Beecher of Harvard University has done extensive research on this.  One such experiment involved 100 medical students. The students were given one of two pills.  Some received a red pill – which they were told was a super stimulant, while others received a blue pill – which they were told was a super tranquilizer.  What they didn’t know is that the contents of the pills were reversed.  The blue pill was the stimulant, and the red pill was a downer. Half the students developed physical reactions that were in line with what the students  expected to happen.  Meaning, if they took the red pill, and was told it was a super stimulant, it did exactly that – stimulate.  BUT what the pill actually contained was chemicals to SUPPRESS and TRANQUILIZE!!!  Their physical and physiological reaction to the drug was exactly OPPOSITE of what the drug should have done.

It must be noted  that these students were NOT given PLACEBOS.  They were given an actual DRUG!  A placebo is a harmless pill, usually a sugar pill that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs.  Its effectiveness is 30% or greater – that is higher than some drugs that are put on the market!

Dr. Henry Beecher stated that a drug’s effectiveness “is a direct result of NOT ONLY the chemical properties of the drug, but also the patients’ belief in the usefulness and effectiveness of the drug.”

Renowned physician Deepak Chopra reported the case of a 63 year old woman who was hospitalized with jaundice, thought to be the result of gallstones. During surgery, it was discovered that the patient did not have gallstones but a severe gallbladder cancer which was considered inoperable. While the patient was recovering from surgery, her daughter asked that her mother not be informed of the true diagnosis. Dr. Chopra obliged and instead told the patient that they had removed the gallstones, believing that she would only live a few more months. Eight months later when the patient returned for a checkup, she appeared healthy and there was no clinical evidence of cancer. On one of her later visits she said, “Doctor, when you admitted me to the hospital three years ago with jaundice, I was sure I had cancer. I was so relieved when you operated and found gallstones that I made up my mind never to be sick again” (Chopra, D. (1991). Creating  health p. 71). 

In our haste to find a miracle cure for diseases, we often overlook one of the most powerful treatments for any disease – the human mind.  All three cases cited above illustrate the critical role of psychological factors in physiological health.  The mechanisms underlying the results are still shrouded in mystery but there is no denying the fact that these effects are real. 

Deepak Chopra says in his “Ageless Body and Timeless Mind”, “Our cells are constantly eavesdropping on our thoughts and being changed by them. Because the mind influences every cell in the body, human ageing is fluid and changeable; it can speed up, slow down, stop for a time and even reverse itself”. Studies have found that people who suffer from depression are at higher risk for heart disease and other illnesses. And people under stress have been found to be more susceptible to colds and flu, and to have more severe symptoms after they fall ill.

Research in young adults has shown that the happier a subject is, the less likely they are to become ill, and the quicker they recover from illnesses. Positive mood states, emotion and satisfaction appear to be strongly linked with good physical health. On the corollary, those who feel guilty, anxious, lonely and depressed are more likely to exhibit undesirable health choices and present themselves as less physically healthy overall. The longer one lingers in a depressive, despondent state, the more likely it is for one to get sick. Without fail, those who maintain positive mind and disposition are more likely to live longer and far better than their more negative counterparts. 

If by thinking positively, we can improve our health, we must work to eliminate negativity from our thought patterns. If one can recognize and understand negative thoughts and influences in one’s life, one can take steps to eradicate them. Regardless of whether one is trying to combat an illness, recover from a trauma, or simply become a healthier person, all evidence suggests maintaining a positive mind is the essential component. 

-         N.GANESHAN