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:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Texas Physical Therapy Specialists (TexPTS) is ... in Building 2. The clinic is the group’s second in New Braunfels and 22nd ... company’s second New Braunfels location brings things full circle for the group, “It’s crazy ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... ... The IoT (Internet of Things) is revolutionizing the way the world operates. ... individual consumers alike. Laboratories can maximize their profit margin by increasing throughput. ... to $11 trillion dollars by the year 2025. McKinsey expects the IoT to have ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... March 23, 2017 , ... 82% of adults are unaware ... 3 kids do not brush their teeth the minimum two times a day that dentists ... with students missing 51 million hours of school and adults missing 164 million hours of ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... March is National Kidney Month – the perfect ... comes to maintaining good health. Every day, two kidneys filter about 120 to 150 ... of your blood, eliminating waste, regulating fluid levels and blood pressure, supporting bone health ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... The StayWell Company announced ... The accreditation covers StayWell’s asthma, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive ... that have excellent programs for the delivery and improvement of disease management and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)...  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted ... adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with ... not received prior chemotherapy. This is the first FDA-approved ... skin cancer. "While skin cancer is one ... form called Merkel cell cancer have not had an ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... and VANCOUVER, British Columbia , ... SPHS ) (the "Company" or "Sophiris"), a clinical ... of urological diseases, today announced that data from its ... drug as a focal treatment for localized prostate cancer, ... 2017 at the 32 nd Annual European Association ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... their offering. ... The global oxygen therapy devices market to grow at a CAGR ... Global Oxygen Therapy Devices Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on ... covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: