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Combined smoking and heavy drinking is a significant health burden. Varenicline, an efficacious tobacco pharmacotherapy that also shows promise for drinking, has yielded mixed results among heavy-drinking smokers. This pilot study investigated integrated tobacco and alcohol counselling plus varenicline for this vulnerable group.
Twelve-week parallel, randomized controlled pilot trial of two behavioural interventions in combination with open-label varenicline. Participants were randomized using computer-generated tables, stratified by sex.
Outpatient academic medical centre research clinic.
Volunteers who reported smoking and heavy drinking and sought tobacco or alcohol treatment (N = 26).
(1) Integrated tobacco + alcohol counselling (INT; n = 13) or (2) counselling focused on their presenting concern (i.e., tobacco or alcohol) (SINGLE; n = 13), plus varenicline (2 mg) for 12 weeks.
Feasibility/acceptability, smoking quit rates and heavy drinking.
INT feasibility/acceptability was high among men but not women. More participants quit smoking in INT than SINGLE. This outcome was only in men, not significant, but had a medium effect size. Both conditions yielded significant drinking reductions.
Integrated tobacco and alcohol behavioural counselling plus varenicline may be feasible and promote smoking cessation among men who smoke and drink heavily, but a larger sample is needed to replicate this finding.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) survivors may show evidence of objective cognitive impairment; however, perceived cognitive problems and their impact on quality of life are less well-understood. The purpose of this study was to explore HSCT survivors’ perceptions of cognitive impairment and its effect on daily life functioning.
Sixty-nine autologous and allogeneic HSCT survivors nine months to three years posttransplant experiencing mild survivorship problems completed a brief structured interview regarding perceived cognitive impairment since transplant. Data were coded and content analyzed. The frequency of participants reporting cognitive problems by domain and associations between reports of cognitive problems and age, depressed mood, anxiety, and health-related quality of life were examined.
Overall, 49 of the 69 participants (71%) reported cognitive impairments after transplant: 38 in memory (55%), 29 in attention and concentration (42%), and smaller numbers in other domains. There were no significant differences in problems reported by transplant type. Of the 50 participants who worked before transplant, 19 (38%) did not return to work following transplant, with 12 citing cognitive and health problems as being the reason. There were significant associations between reports of cognitive impairment and younger age (p = 0.02), depressed mood (p = 0.02), anxiety (p = 0.002), and health-related quality of life (p = 0.008).
Significance of results
A large proportion of survivors reported cognitive impairment following HSCT that impaired daily life functioning. Perceived cognitive impairment was associated with younger age, greater distress and reduced health-related quality of life.
People who undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation are highly dependent on their caregiver during their lengthy treatment and recovery. The effectiveness of their caregiver's social support can profoundly affect their day-to-day treatment experiences and, in turn, how they recall those experiences and are affected by them long after the treatment ends.
Our participants were 182 men and women who had undergone a transplant within the previous 9 months to 3 years. They completed baseline measures (including a measure of caregiver social support effectiveness) and then completed three writing assignments describing their transplant experiences. Linguistic analyses were conducted to investigate their use of words indicating negative emotions, cognitive processing (insight and causation), and practical problems with money and insurance. Theory-based hypotheses predicted associations between specific functional types of caregiver support (emotional, informational, and instrumental) and these word categories.
As hypothesized, the effectiveness of different functional types of support from a caregiver were uniquely associated with theoretically relevant categories of word use. Structural equation models indicated that more effective caregiver emotional support predicted lower use of negative emotion words; more effective caregiver informational support predicted lower use of causation words; and more effective caregiver instrumental support predicted lower use of words related to money and insurance.
Significance of results:
Our findings provide insights to guide research on the mechanisms through which caregiver support influences patient outcomes after stem cell transplantation. For instance, research suggests that these kinds of effects could have implications for survivors' current self-concept, psychosocial functioning, and meaning-making.
Survivors of hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) have experienced a life threatening and potentially traumatic illness and treatment that make them vulnerable to long lasting negative psychological outcomes, including anxiety and depression. Nevertheless, studies show that overcoming cancer and its treatment can present an opportunity for personal growth and psychological health (reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression and high levels of emotional well-being) through resilience. However, research has not yet clarified what differentiates HSCT survivors who experience psychological growth from those who do not. By analyzing recovery narratives, we examined whether HSCT survivors’ interpretation of their experiences helps explain differences in their post-treatment psychological health.
Guided by narrative psychology theory, we analyzed the narratives of 23 HSCT survivors writing about their experience of cancer treatment. Psychological health was measured by: (1) emotional well-being subscale part of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Bone Marrow Transplant (FACT-BMT), (2) depression, and (3) anxiety subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory.
Findings revealed a positive relation between psychological health and a greater number of redemption episodes (going from an emotionally negative life event to an emotionally positive one) as well as fewer negative emotional expressions.
Significance of the results:
Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed, showing how narratives can inform interventions to assist cancer survivors with their psychological recovery.
Serratia marcescens can cause serious infections in patients in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), including sepsis, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and conjunctivitis. We report the utility of genetic fingerprinting to identify, investigate, and control two distinct outbreaks of S. marcescens.
An epidemiologic investigation was performed to control two clusters of S. marcescens infections and to determine possible routes of transmission. Molecular typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis determined the relatedness of S. marcescens strains recovered from neonates, the environment, and the hands of healthcare workers (HCWs).
Two geographically distinct level III-IV NICUs (NICU A and NICU B) in two university-affiliated teaching hospitals in New York City.
In NICU A, one major clone, “F,” was detected among isolates recovered from four neonates and the hands of one HCW. A second predominant clone, “A,” was recovered from four sink drains and one rectal surveillance culture from an asymptomatic neonate. In NICU B, four neonates were infected with clone “D,” and three sink drains harbored clone “H.” The attributable mortality rate from bloodstream infections was 60% (3 of 5 infants). The antimicrobial susceptibilities of clone F strains varied for amikacin, cefepime, and piperacillin/tazobactam.
S. marcescens causes significant morbidity and mortality in preterm neonates. Cross-transmission via transient hand carriage of a HCW appeared to be the probable route of transmission in NICU A. Sinks did not harbor the outbreak strains. Antimicrobial susceptibility patterns did not prove to be an accurate predictor of strain relatedness for S. marcescens.
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