Mainstream thought tells us that art heals emotional, spiritual and psychic wounds. Now a team of neurological and psychiatric researchers at the University of Bari in Italy have confirmed in their recent study that it helps in lowering pain.

We at ArtThread believe in the validity and need for this type of research that could benefit cancer patients. As new cutting edge cancer protocols yield an increase in survivorship, they often increase the psychological and physical distress of the patient. Years ago (April, 1984, Science) Roger Ulrich, now Director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A & M, demonstrated that gardens do better than brick walls for reducing length of stay and narcotic use by post-op patients. So the natural question follows: Can creativity in the form of art-making improve health outcomes for cancer patients? Researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital recently published research in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management that shows art makes a difference.

So ArtThread wants to extend the question, the dialog, the research and the support for cancer patients. Take this research cited above and add on the community created by connections on the ArtThread Interactive Gallery, and then mix in the ability for the cancer patient to add their ArtThread art (and others) to their environment using any of the tools at their disposal e.g. touch-screen LCD, Ipod, social networking sites, or cell phones. Whether it’s in the chemotherapy chair, at home or in the hospital, technology in the form of a laptop, an I-Phone, or a standard desktop computer, they all can deliver art – art made by and shared by a community of survivors that support each other. Creativity and technology  can be used to improve the Quality of Life for cancer patients.