Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Treatment developed for patients with medically unexplained symptoms

14.07.2006
Doctors at Michigan State University have developed a revolutionary treatment plan that will allow primary care physicians to more effectively treat people who suffer from medically unexplained symptoms.

The diagnosis of medically unexplained symptoms is a problem that affects millions of people and can tax an already over-burdened health care system, according to Robert Smith, a physician and professor in MSU’s Department of Medicine, College of Human Medicine.

Smith and his colleagues devised the treatment plan which involves a combination of behavior modification and pharmaceutical treatment, as well as a good dose of improved communication between patient and doctor.

Testing this treatment with nearly 100 patients, Smith and colleagues found that nearly half of them showed marked improvement. The findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

“What we did was use what they’ve learned in psychiatry and the pain clinics, which is cognitive behavioral treatment and pharmacological treatment,” Smith said. “We simply adapted it for use by primary care providers. But the centerpiece of all this is the doctor-patient relationship.”

Medically unexplained symptoms can be frustrating for both patient and physician, Smith said.

“We’re in a disease-based system and because of that fact, doctors don’t particularly like patients with medically unexplained symptoms,” he said. “On the other hand, patients are unhappy because their needs aren’t being met.”

This is where the value of the doctor-patient relationship comes into play, Smith said.

“For years we’ve taught our students the value of this relationship and it really works,” he said. “It’s about communicating, how to address emotion, how to respond to it, how to be empathetic. We integrated all of that into this treatment.”

In addition to looking for the root causes of a patient’s pain or discomfort, this treatment also calls for the use of medications such as antidepressants, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy that challenges the ways in which patients perceive their illnesses.

In this study, people with medically unexplained symptoms averaged 13 visits to primary care providers per year, many of those visits being to a hospital emergency room.

The most common symptoms are back pain, headache, fatigue, as well as musculoskeletal, nervous system and gastrointestinal complaints.

“Medically unexplained symptoms are common and costly,” Smith said. “A patient’s symptoms just won’t go away, so a doctor orders more tests or gives more medicine or even operates on the patient. Pretty soon the patient will actually develop an organic disease as a complication of the drugs or surgery.”

He said it’s important that people who suffer from medically unexplained symptoms realize they are not going to be “cured.”

“We can help to take the edge off,” he said. “The patient may still have some pain, but it doesn’t have to interfere with his or her life to the extent that it has in the past.”

For a copy of the published paper, visit the Web at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00460.x.

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and engagement for 150 years.

Michigan State is the only university in the country with three medical schools – the College of Human Medicine, the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The human medical colleges are nationally known for the training of primary care physicians. Veterinary science has been taught at Michigan State since its founding in 1855. MSU also is home to the College of Nursing, known for its programs designed to address the nation’s nursing shortage.

Tom Oswald | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

nachricht Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain
20.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>