Can Animals Help Heal People?

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health & Lifestyle report.

Programs that use animals to calm patients and reduce stress are called animals Psychiatric treatment.

These treatments are popular in the United States, although evidence of their effectiveness is lacking.

However, there are many stories about animal therapy helping people. For example, some children are afraid of injections. That can make getting a COVID-19 vaccine a difficult experience.

Therefore, some hospitals use therapy animals – like Ollie, a six-year-old therapy dog. Ollie helps children at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California overcome their fear of vaccinations.

Kristen Guest and her dog Ollie meet 9-year-old Angel Garcia at Rady Children's Hospital (AP Photo: Mike Blake)

Kristen Guest and her dog Ollie meet 9-year-old Angel Garcia at Rady Children’s Hospital (AP Photo: Mike Blake)

One such child is nine-year-old Avery Smith. She cried at the children’s hospital for fear of the vaccine. Then. Olly came and sat at her feet. Avery told a Reuters reporter her experience.

“It helped me because I had never had the COVID vaccine before,” Avery said. “I didn’t know how I was feeling. But when I saw the dog it helped me calm down.”

In early November, children in the United States between the ages of 5 and 11 were able to get the vaccine. Since then, Olly and 14 other dogs have been helping them with vaccinations at the California hospital. They are part of a treatment program that is paid for by the pet supply company.

Even before the vaccine, therapy dogs were already in use at Children’s Hospital. Some children in the hospital are battling cancer or other serious illnesses.

Kristen Guest is a 75-year-old volunteer canine therapy and former hospital programs director. She is also a primary owner. Geist said that parents sometimes hold the dog and they seem to feel better, too.

This is a therapy dog.  He waits at home for a drive to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California.  (AP Photo Mike Blake)

This is a therapy dog. He waits at home for a drive to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. (AP Photo Mike Blake)

However, some experts say there is a lack of scientific evidence that proves that animal treatment improves a patient’s medical condition.

One such expert is Hal Herzog. He is Professor of Psychology at Western Carolina University. He has been studying human-animal relationships for more than 20 years.

Herzog told VOA that the animal could distracts Sick. He added that other things like this favorite game may have the same effect.

“Some studies have shown that in order to prevent pain in the short term – react With a dog you can put your mind to something else. And in this case, I see no harm in doing so. And for some kids, it’s likely to be effective.”

However, Herzog criticized the use of animals as medical treatment, such as narcotics. He said the research does not show that the animal treatment is effective.

“There has been a lot of research, but most of it hasn’t been very good. And some of the studies… some of the best studies found that therapy dogs didn’t have any Effect For children and adults who have been placed overwroughtExperimental positions.

Bad search methods

Bad research methods come in many forms, Herzog said.

Not many studies use a control group. The control group helps the scientists understand whether the experimental treatment has any effect. Some studies do not take into account the effects of dog handlers. They are often nice people who can also help the patient.

People involved in animal therapy research often believe in it, Herzog said. Therefore, their personal opinions may influence the research.

Herzog also talked about something called the “file drawer” problem. This happens when the searcher doesn’t get the results they want and puts the results in the File Drawer, or somewhere they don’t search often.

He said that sometimes there is a conflict of interest. Many studies on the health effects of pet ownership and animal therapy are pushed by the pet industry.

However, Herzog said that even when these studies find a lack of evidence, some in the media still report the results in a good way. Herzog said the media often reported incorrectly about such studies.

Herzog wrote about one of the best studies on dog therapy. He explained that the study was conducted in five major American hospitals. She researched the effects of dog therapy on children with cancer. The study did not find it clear benefit of therapy dogs. The media, however, reported that the study I did find benefits.

As a result, people may believe that animal therapy affects human health in the long run more than it does. Herzog published reports on this subject in the magazine Psychology Today.

Herzog said he was not opposed to the use of animals in therapy. He shares the story of his son, who is a nurse in the intensive care area of ​​a hospital. This hospital also brings animals to help, not the patients, but the hospital staff. His son says that everyone loves visits.

However, Herzog thought differently about the long-term effects of using animals as medical treatment.

“It seems to me that if we want to push dogs, animals as medicine we have to put them on Basic We also do drugs.”

Ole greets Tanner Rico, 16, at Rady Children's Hospital, November 11, 2021 (AP Photo Mike Blake)

Ole greets Tanner Rico, 16, at Rady Children’s Hospital, November 11, 2021 (AP Photo Mike Blake)

For some people, even if there is no clue, smiles and a happy distraction may be enough. Last year, as hospitals imposed coronavirus restrictions, visits to dogs at Rady Children’s Hospital were halted. Resumed in August 2021.

“There was nothing. It was silence. It was the children boredom“So, thank God, we were able to start restarting the program,” hospital spokesman Carlos Delgado told Reuters.

Even a short three-minute visit with a dog makes a difference to a patient’s day, Delgado added.

This is the Health & Lifestyle report.

I’m Anna Mathieu.

For this story, Anna Mathieu interviewed Hal Herzog for VOA Learning English and Daniel Trotta of California Hospital for Reuters News Agency. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.

Test: Could animals be a good way to treat disease?

Test: Could animals be a good way to treat disease?

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The words in this story

Psychiatric treatment – n. Treating physical or mental illness

distracts – Fifth. To make someone stop thinking about one thing and make them think about something else

react – Fifth. To talk or do things with others

overwrought to cause anxiety or stress

benefit – n. A good or beneficial result or effect

Standards – n. (pl) A set of requirements that are expected to be met

Effect – n. to influence or influence something

boredom Being tired and unhappy about something that is not pleasant or repetitive


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