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Religions 2012, 3(2), 467-497; doi:10.3390/rel3020467

Religious and Spiritual Biomarkers in Both Health and Disease

Postgraduate and Doctoral School named after St Cyril and Methodius, Russian Orthodox Church, Cathedral of the Mother of God of Kazan on the Red Square, Moscow, Ulitsa Gerasima Kurina 16/174, Moscow 121108, Russia
Received: 6 February 2012 / Revised: 11 May 2012 / Accepted: 29 May 2012 / Published: 6 June 2012
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Abstract

Religious thought and spirituality can be considered as a part of natural human capacities. There is an exponential rise in clinical research in the relationship between religion, spirituality and positive health outcomes. Most of these studies, however, have been primarily descriptive, rather than explanatory, focusing on identifying their underlying mechanisms. Almost no attempts have been made to find novel methods to mirror and monitor positive, and possibly negative, reactions related to the local and general effects of religion and spirituality in healthy subjects and patients. As this area of interest is rather new, we propose to put forward a new hypothesis that effects of religion and spirituality can be objectively studied by various exhaled biomarkers, some of which have already been developed and tested in health and disease. The lungs are particularly well suited for this purpose, as we have easy access to exhaled air and thereby a possibility to develop methods that measure compounds directly released from them. This work is the first step in the convergence of medical and theological research by linking various biomarkers and physiological measures with indicators of individual belief systems, religiosity and spirituality. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; spirituality; prayer; exhaled biomarkers; inflammation; nitric oxide; volatile compounds religion; spirituality; prayer; exhaled biomarkers; inflammation; nitric oxide; volatile compounds
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Kharitonov, S.A. Religious and Spiritual Biomarkers in Both Health and Disease. Religions 2012, 3, 467-497.

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