Self-ratings of depression, mood, fatigue, and quality of life are significant predictors of survival in patients with advanced cancer. Although the simple explanation for this is that people close to death get very depressed, two previous small randomised trials showed substantial survival benefits with psychological treatments aimed to improve wellbeing. Therefore Dr Martin Stockler, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues assessed the benefit on symptoms and survival of sertraline in patients with advanced cancer but no major depression.
The authors say: “We postulated that sertraline might improve these features of health-related quality of life and increase overall survival by helping patients to cope better with their illness and treatment.”
Between 2001 and 2006, the researchers treated 189 patients with advanced cancer with 50mg sertraline each day, or placebo. They found that patients receiving sertraline experienced no significant effect on depression, anxiety, fatigue, wellbeing or quality of life. Their findings suggest the overmedicalisation (giving drugs to patients where the benefit is unclear or unproven) of patients with advanced cancer should be avoided.
However, the authors stress that sertraline use should continue in situations where it is of proven benefit – such as patients with advanced cancer who have major depression.
They conclude: “Treatment with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [antidepressant] should be reserved for those with a proven indication.”
Tony Kirby | alfa
Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
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The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
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