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Wearable devices such as a wrist actigraph may have a potential to objectively estimate patients’ functioning and may supplement performance status (PS). This proof-of-concept study aimed to evaluate whether actigraphy data are significantly associated with patients’ functioning and are predictive of their survival in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
We collected actigraphy data for a three-day period in ambulatory patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. We computed correlations between actigraphy data (specifically, proportion of time spent immobile while awake) and clinician-rated PS, subjective report of physical activities, quality of life (the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – Trial Outcome Index), and survival.
Actigraphy data (the proportion of time awake spent immobile) were significantly correlated with Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – Trial Outcome Index (r = −0.53, p < 0.001) and with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group PS (ECOG PS) (r = 0.37, p < 0.001). The proportion of time awake spent immobile was significantly associated with worse survival. For each 10% increase in this measure, the hazard ratio (HR) was 1.48 (95% confidence interval [CI95%] = 1.06, 2.06) for overall mortality, and odds ratio was 2.99 (CI95% = 1.27, 7.05) for six-month mortality. ECOG PS was also associated with worse survival (HR = 2.80, CI95% = 1.34, 5.86). Among patients with ECOG PS 0-1, the percentage of time awake spent immobile was significantly associated with worse survival, HR = 1.93 (CI95% = 1.10, 3.42), whereas ECOG PS did not predict survival.
Significance of Results
Actigraphy may have potential to predict important clinical outcomes, such as quality of life and survival, and may serve to supplement PS. Further validation study is warranted.
Early career investigators have few opportunities for targeted training in supportive oncology research. To address this need, we developed, implemented, and evaluated an intensive, six-day workshop on methods in supportive oncology research for trainees and junior faculty across multiple disciplines.
A multidisciplinary team of supportive oncology researchers developed a workshop patterned after the clinical trials workshop offered jointly by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and American Association of Cancer Research. The curriculum included lectures and a mentored experience of writing a research protocol. Each year since 2015, the workshop has accepted and trained 36 early career investigators. Over the course of the workshop, participants present sections of their research protocols daily in small groups led by senior researchers, and have dedicated time to write and revise these sections. Primary outcomes for the workshop included the frequency of completed protocols by the end of the workshop, a pre- and posttest assessing participant knowledge, and follow-up surveys of the participants and their primary mentors.
Over three years, the workshop received 195 applications; 109 early career researchers were competitively selected to participate. All participants (109/109, 100%) completed writing a protocol by the end of their workshop. Participants and their primary mentors reported significant improvements in their research knowledge and skills. Each year, participants rated the workshop highly in terms of satisfaction, value, and likelihood of recommending it to a colleague. One year after the first workshop, most respondents (29/30, 96.7%) had either submitted their protocol or written at least one other protocol.
Significance of results
We developed a workshop on research methods in supportive oncology. More early career investigators applied for the workshop than capacity, and the workshop was fully attended each year. Both the workshop participants and their primary mentors reported improvement in research skills and knowledge.
The objective of this study was to examine the religious/spiritual beliefs of followers of the five major world religions about frequently encountered medical situations at the end of life (EoL).
This was a systematic review of observational studies on the religious aspects of commonly encountered EoL situations. The databases used for retrieving studies were: Ovid MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE, Ovid PsycINFO, Ovid Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus. Observational studies, including surveys from healthcare providers or the general population, and case studies were included for review. Articles written from a purely theoretical or philosophical perspective were excluded.
Our search strategy generated 968 references, 40 of which were included for review, while 5 studies were added from reference lists. Whenever possible, we organized the results into five categories that would be clinically meaningful for palliative care practices at the EoL: advanced directives, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide, physical requirements (artificial nutrition, hydration, and pain management), autopsy practices, and other EoL religious considerations. A wide degree of heterogeneity was observed within religions, depending on the country of origin, level of education, and degree of intrinsic religiosity.
Significance of results:
Our review describes the religious practices pertaining to major EoL issues and explains the variations in EoL decision making by clinicians and patients based on their religious teachings and beliefs. Prospective studies with validated tools for religiosity should be performed in the future to assess the impact of religion on EoL care.
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