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
Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex
21.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
19.09.2017 | Event News
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21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine