Lack of touch can kill!

14 Dec

While I am learning what it is like to be a leper (albeit only for 7 days) I remembered reading that touching is essential for life.

Lack of touch can kill – chilling tales

A tragic fate befell a group of babies in the 1940s. At that time, when the theory of disease being spread by contact was novel, psychoanalyst Rene Spitz gathered a group of babies from orphanages and those separated from their mothers who were in prison, to conduct an experiment to see whether reduced human contact could reduce the incidence of disease. The babies were fed and clothed, and kept warm and clean but they were not played with, handled, or held. Spitz thought that human contact would risk exposing the children to hazardous infectious organisms. But what happened was that while the physical needs of the children were met, they became withdrawn and sickly, and lost weight. A great many died. 

In tragic irony, the babies exhibited a vast number of infections .. in one institituion the mortality rate to measles was 40% compared to the national average was 0.5% … and in the cleanest and most sterile institutions the death rate was above 75%. 

Spitz had rediscovered that a lack of human contact and interaction is fatal to infants. We need touch, just as we need love.

Seven hundred years earlier, Frederick II, a thirteenth century Holy Roman emperor and king of southern Italy unwittingly conducted the first study of human bonding and the importance of touch. He spoke several languages and wanted to discover the inborn language of mankind by raising a group of children who would never hear speech. The children were cared for by foster mothers and nurses who were allowed to suckle and bathe the children but not to interact with them at any other time. All the babies died before uttering a single word.

Marriages and friendships die the same way!

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Posted by on 14 December, 2008 in Devotional, Medical


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