Navigation Links
Too many ways to say 'it hurts'
Date:7/29/2009

CHICAGO --- There are at least 100 ways to say, "It hurts!" And that is the problem.

David Cella is on mission -- backed by nearly $10 million in National Institutes of Health funds -- to revolutionize the language of pain, as well as fatigue, depression and anxiety. These are some of the important symptoms researchers measure when they try to figure out if a medical treatment improves the quality of life for a patient with a chronic disease.

Are they in too much pain to unload groceries from the car? Are they too tired or depressed to go out to lunch with a friend? The answers are vital for researchers to know if new treatments are useful or useless.

But the glitch is every group of researchers asks patients different questions to measure their symptoms. Thus, one group's measurement of severe pain or fatigue or depression may be different than another's. Because researchers aren't speaking a common language, doctors and other health care providers can't compare the results across studies to decide which is the best approach. Instead, study results remain separate puzzle pieces that never fit together into a whole picture.

"Can you imagine if a doctor wanted to check your hemoglobin and there weren't any numbers to measure whether it was normal?" asked Cella , professor and chair of the new department of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "When you say a patient's hemoglobin is 11, everybody knows what it means, but nobody knows what a pain of 36 means or a fatigue of 32 because we don't use common measures."

That's about to change. Cella is leading a far-reaching new national project that establishes a common scientific vocabulary. In August, he and colleagues from six other institutions and the NIH will release a set of free publicly available computerized tests for researchers to measure pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and physical and social functioning. Now there will be a pain measurement of 75, for example, that will mean the same thing to every doctor and scientist.

The new project is called Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). More than 1,000 researchers have already registered to try the new tools.

Cella's project addresses President Obama's call for greater accountability in medical treatment. "In order to have a system that works that way you need a consistent measure of outcomes that people can understand and relate to," Cella said. "That's what we have developed."

The lack of a common vocabulary has hurt research, Cella noted. ""It's a Tower of Babel, a hodge-podge of language. It's a big problem because you can't migrate the results of one study to a broader understanding," he said. "We keep having to learn the same things over and over. We are not building on a foundation of knowledge."

Not only have Cella and his team created a new language and tool for researchers, but the PROMIS project also represents a shift in the way researchers evaluate the benefits of treatments. The goal is not just to help people live longer but also live better.

X-rays, CT scans and lab tests may have minimal relevance to the day-to-day functioning of patients with chronic diseases. "We help measure directly if people are living better by asking them," Cella said. "Sometimes it's as simple as asking, 'Do you think this treatment has made your life better?' That question is surprisingly absent from many studies."


'/>"/>

Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study finds rapid growth in health costs hurts economic performance of US industries
2. High Court Ruling Against Preemption Hurts Patients, Helps Trial Lawyers
3. State Budget Proposal Hurts Ability to Care for Most Vulnerable Ohioans
4. Even a Little Overweight, Inactivity Hurts the Heart
5. Tummy Hurts From Eating Too Much or From Too Many Turns in the Road? Clear Motion & Digestive Aid(TM) Comes to the Rescue
6. Estrogen therapy helps or hurts the brain depending on reproductive status
7. Medicare Drug Law Hurts Frail Seniors
8. Minnesota, National Long Term Care Advocates: Pending Bush Medicare Cut Hurts States Rural Seniors
9. Male Partner Violence Hurts Womens Health Worldwide
10. Dads Substance Use Hurts Expectant Moms Efforts to Quit
11. Lack of Sleep Hurts Womens Hearts Most
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... LEXINGTON, Ky. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... MD, MPH to become its next President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James ... and CEO Elect beginning July 1, 2018 until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple ... care services, staged a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster ... Fire Department, Echo Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, ... week that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in the ... cryptic and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... WILMINGTON, Del. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... technology and advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range ... and National Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... Award of Excellence to Carol Friedman, PhD, FACMI, during the Opening Session of AMIA’s ... 4 – 8. , In honor of Morris F. Collen, a pioneer in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , Oct. 10, 2017   West Pharmaceutical Services, ... solutions for injectable drug administration, today shared the results ... Adapter for improving the intradermal administration of polio vaccines. ... Vaccination Summit in May 2017 by Dr. Ondrej ... Department, World Health Organization (WHO), and recently published in ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... South Korea , Oct. 4, 2017  South ... its next-generation CPR training aide "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The ... chest compression during cardiac arrests with better efficiency compared ... It also offers real-time feedback on efficacy of the ... The crowdfunding campaign has a goal to raise $5,000. ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... Consulting, LLC , and named its founder as Diplomat,s ... Tennessee , will operate under Diplomat ... service offerings for health care partners to include IT ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers comprehensive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: