A doctor who has studied spontaneous remissions for fifteen years says the science of self-healing could have a profound effect on patients with terminal illnesses.
Dr. Jeffrey Rediger, a world-renowned Harvard doctor in Boston, psychiatrist and theologian, interviewed hundreds of patients who have experienced “medical miracles,” including a retiree diagnosed with cancer and having two months to live, and who overcame his cerebral palsy, while his brother did not.
Reluctant to classify these cases as “flukes”, the doctor took a closer look at the lifestyle changes, new habits and attitudes that the patients had adopted at the time if they seemed to be “cured”, in his new Cured book, published by Penguin Random Maison.
In the book, he explains that self-confidence, how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us influences our chances of remission.
Dr. Jeff Rediger, pictured, a world-renowned Harvard doctor, psychiatrist and theologian, interviewed hundreds of patients who experienced these spontaneous remissions, a pensioner who diagnosed cancer and gave two months to live to a girl who can overcome it. cerebral palsy
“If you perceive yourself as” sick “or” sick “or surrounded by people who perceive you that way, how much longer and more difficult your path to recovery could be,” writes Dr. Rediger in his chapter You are not not your illness.
The chapter follows the case of twins born with a form of cerebral palsy that affected their walking.
Cerebral palsy is caused by developmental problems in the womb or deprivation of oxygen during birth, and affects the muscles, movements and coordination of the body, and is incurable.
However, Dr. Rediger explains how a twin, Karen, managed to overcome most of the debilitating effects of the condition with which she was born, when her sister did not.
The twins, two girls from Ohio, had the same symptoms but a very different attitude toward their cerebral palsy.
Karen had great difficulty walking because her heels did not touch the ground and she found it difficult to lengthen her legs.
Karen and her sister visited a “healer” named Dr Nemeh, who worked near their city.
There, Karen let the doctor examine and treat her, while her sister refused.
“Over the course of a few visits, she started to feel a change in the way she felt in her body,” writes Dr. Rediger in the book.
Dr. Rediger Cured’s book is published by Penguin Random House and available for purchase
“Some people describe a feeling of overheating or feeling strange after Dr. Nemeh puts his hands on their bodies; some vibrate, some pass out.
“Karen felt a surge of energy, jumped out of her chair and fled the room. She had never run anywhere in her life before, “he added.
Meanwhile, her sister, who was in a wheelchair, attended all of the sessions, but told Rediger that she did not feel “worthy” of Dr. Nemeh’s attention.
“She was sure that any attempt to improve it would fail,” he wrote in the book, “she felt too defective and, therefore, unworthy.”
This is where Dr. Rediger explains that the perception of our disease could influence our ability to heal.
‘Yes other people see you as sick or damaged, it can make you feel sick or damaged, ”he wrote.
He also points out that our emotions also have an influence on how we feel pain.
He cites studies that have shown that we feel more pain when someone tries to hurt us on purpose than by accident.
Can a positive attitude protect against Alzheimer’s disease?
The fear of aging can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s, according to a 2015 study from the Yale School of Public Health.
Middle-aged people who view aging as a disability are more likely to experience dementia-like changes in their brains decades later.
The stress generated by these thoughts and fears is thought to consume the brain over time.
American researchers have said that while the focus has been on how healthy eating can help keep a young mind, we should also consider the benefits of positive thinking.
Dr. Becca Levy analyzed data collected from 74 men and women from their middle ages until their deaths.
All were healthy at the start of the study and aged mainly in their late 50s and early 60s.
First, they completed a survey designed to assess their attitude toward aging.
Questions included whether they viewed the elderly as distracted or grouchy and whether people became less useful as they got older.
Twenty years later, they began to have annual tests that measured the size of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory hub.
The brain normally shrinks with age, but the hippocampus shrank three times faster in these negative views of aging two decades earlier.
Other evidence came from brain tests after death.
These tests, which were carried out on average 28 years after the start of the study, showed that those who had a negative opinion of younger aging had higher levels of two proteins characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
The finding was held when other factors such as age, education and overall health were taken into account.
The same goes for the concept of aging. Dr. Rediger says that “negative thoughts about aging put you at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.”
“Researchers have discovered that the chronic stress generated by” negative self-perceptions depletes the hippocampus, the small hippocampal-shaped portion or the brain that is responsible for your memories, your emotions, and even your heartbeat “
In comparison, studies at the Harvard and Yale’s School of Public Health have shown that a truly positive attitude toward aging improves health and extends life expectancy, he writes.
Dr. Rediger gives many examples of how an individual’s psychological well-being can affect their remission.
It follows the story of a patient named Daniel, whose case was followed by doctors in the 1950s.
Daniel struggled with social interactions, and was the product of being raised in a very religious family,
He wanted to be a pastor but did not feel up to the profession, and he was in a difficult relationship with a woman he kept at bay because he had strong feelings of guilt regarding sex and sin.
By the time he graduated from college, the therapy didn’t bring him any comfort and he hated his life, writes Dr. Rediger.
In January 1959, at the age of 26, Daniel was diagnosed with embryonic testicular cell carcinoma.
He had surgery to remove the tumor, but it only made him more depressed, and four months after surgery, the cancer came back more aggressively and spread throughout his body, from metastases in his chest to tumors visible on his neck. .
Her prognosis was as bad as possible, with no chance of survival and weeks to live, says Dr. Rediger.
At the same time, Daniel’s therapist asked him what he wanted to do with the remaining time, and the cancer patient replied that he wanted to get married and be ordered.
With an increasingly clear sense, he did the work to be ordained and began planning a marriage with the woman he was dating, with whom the relationship had improved, and tied the knot in July, six months after his initial diagnosis.
At the same time, the tumors on his neck became smaller and, a few days after the ceremony, they had completely disappeared, prompting his doctors to order x-rays.
Examinations showed that the tumors in his lymphatic system had completely disappeared and that the metastases in his chest cavity had started to shrink.
“They couldn’t think of any explanation; the only treatment he had had since he discovered the extent of the cancer was palliative, “writes Dr. Regider.
By August 1959, the cancer had completely disappeared and there was no sign of illness in the pastor’s body.
“The ups and downs of Daniel’s aggressive cancer reflected his psychological state at every turn, raising many important questions,” says Dr. Rediger.
He also cites more recent cases to emphasize his theory, including that of Claire Haser, retired from Oregon.
In 2008, Claire was diagnosed with the most aggressive and deadly form of pancreatic cancer, called adenocarcinoma, which is known to progress rapidly.
“A diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma is a death sentence,” writes Dr. Rediger. “The question is not whether you will die from the disease, but when.”
The only form of treatment possible is surgery called Whipple, which involves removing part of your pancreas with your gallbladder, parts of your small intestine, and possibly part of your stomach and spleen.
The cumbersome procedure can have a number of painful complications that over time could turn into more health problems such as diabetes or anemia.
After discussing the side effects with her doctor and researching the procedure, Claire decided not to have the operation, agreeing that she could live the last moments of her life.
“I decided to let nature take its course,” she told Dr. Rediger, “I decided to live with as much joy and happiness as possible for as long as I was gone.
Five years later, in 2013, Claire was admitted to hospital for reasons unrelated to her cancer, which required a CT scan of her abdomen.
“Although the doctors were not looking for him specifically, his pancreas was seen on the scanner and it was clean. Where there was a tumor, there was none, “writes Dr. Rediger.
Despite the incredible story of Claire and Daniel’s healings, Dr. Regider writes that spontaneous remissions are never the subject of a thorough investigation.
“We classify people like Claire as” moats “and” outliers “and simply accept the narrative that they are explainable.
“We don’t know how to explain them, we hesitate to publish them for fear of professional ridicule, and we don’t repeat them to patients we see who suffer from these same illnesses,” he writes, explains health professionals don’t want not give false hope to patients.
Cured by Dr. Jeff Rediger is published by Penguin Random House.