Thursday, 29 August 2013


May I introduce you to Professor Edward T. Creagan. 
Professor Creagan is Professor of Oncology at New York Medical College and a Fellow in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Medicine

His recent publications include:

Dronca RS, Allred JB, Perez DG, Nevala WK, Lieser EA, Thompson M, Maples WJ, Creagan ET, Pockaj BA, Kaur JS, Moore TD, Marchello BT, Markovic SN.
Am J Clin Oncol. 2013 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Jatoi A, Allred JB, Suman VJ, Creagan ET, Croghan GA, Amatruda T, Markovic SN.
J Geriatr Oncol. 2012 Oct 1;3(4):307-311. Epub 2012 May 7.

He also wrote a BLOG recently on Pet therapy: How animals help us heal.

Dr Creagan believes in the healing power of pets. He talks of his life changing experience several years ago when a patient he thought he would lose was inspired to fight on by his overwhelming desire to return home to Max, his German Shepherd.

The Mayo Clinic takes the healing power of pets seriously. It has Jack; or to give him his correct title, Dr Jack. He is a 10 year old miniature pinscher. Dr Jack sees around ten patients a day. He is one of the thousands of canine healthcare ‘professionals’ known as ‘assistance dogs’. ‘Sometimes they help a healthcare provider with treatment and sometimes they just spend time with patients. The Health benefits are diverse’ writes Karen Ravn in the Los Angeles Times.

Mayo is world renowned for its scientific rigour and clinical excellence. There is something like 250 areas of research and numerous research projects being undertaken in each research area at any one time. Yet Mayo has Dr Jack. Mayo published a children’s book recently to explain the history of Mayo and what it does. They chose Jack as the vehicle to do this because they believe he exemplifies the Mayo model of care. The book is called ’Dr Jack: The Helping Dog’.

Another book published recently on the subject is ‘Dogs that Changed the World’. It tells the story of Daisy and Tangle, dogs able to sniff out cancer cells, and Delta, a German Shepherd who can sense changes in the blood sugar levels of her young master. And at the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University in Tallahassee, scientists have trained dogs to detect the odour of skin melanomas and prostate cancer. Researchers are now training dogs to sniff out ovarian cancer.

 ISQua Staff Dogs:  Mr Johnny Angel, Maxie, McGrath, Scamp, Muhtar and Sasha  

Our pets are always therapeutic for us. But there are also the professional therapy dogs with which you will be familiar. I well remember visiting my Father in his Nursing Home where ‘Annie’ the therapy Golden Retriever used to bring so much joy to what might otherwise have been quite empty lives. In addition to providing companionship, researchers are now finding that these dogs are legitimately therapeutic. They have been found to reduce blood pressure and levels of stress hormones in heart failure patients and to have improved the focus and memory of patients with Alzheimer’s.

More and more clinicians, like Dr Creagan are embracing ‘pet therapy’ which surely would have been dismissed as nonsense even as recently as few years ago – if the notion was even seriously entertained at all. Certainly it works at the edges as an adjunct and a complementary application to the scientific method which will always prevail. But why not incorporate something that brings benefits if all it takes is ‘getting a dog in your life’.

Peter Carter
Chief Executive Officer
August 29 2013 

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