One in every two hundred cancer patients is a child and although diagnosis and treatment have improved considerably in recent years. Adolescents facing cancer are very often torn from their growing social world at a critical time in their development and can become quickly isolated. In part, the constantly changing therapy cycles and different treatment locations are to blame.
For instance, leukaemia treatment can last for two years and require chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and extended periods in hospital, often at different specialist centres, rather than a single location. Periods of isolation are often needed because the drugs make the patient more susceptible to infection. Many adolescent cancer patients also feel fragile and unattractive and shy away from social interaction other than with family, which can also be detrimental to friendships.
Jan Marco Leimeister, Uta Knebel, and Helmut Krcmar of the Technische Universität München, Germany are exploring how mobile information technology could be used to improve the perceived quality of life of adolescent cancer patients.
According to Leimeister, who is an expert in virtual communities, e-health and ubiquitous and mobile computing, a four-month field experiment conducted together with the cancer department of the hospital of Heidelberg University has brought to the fore the various challenges and requirements of patient mobile information systems. Their results also outline necessary future research that will allow the concept to be developed practically.
The most obvious answer to keeping teen cancer victims connected is through the use of mobile phone technology. Indeed, these could become a vital part of the recovery process allowing patients to keep in touch with friends and family even during extended periods of isolation. However, many hospitals prohibit the use of mobile phones because of perceived effects on sensitive medical equipment. Leimeister points out that some hospitals are loosening mobile phone restrictions provided they are not used close to such equipment.
The team suggests that a single portable device could act as contact point, allowing calls and messaging between patient and family and friends. It could be used as a kind of personal pager, reminding the patient to attend specific clinics on time or take their medicine. It could also store the patient's medical records for rapid access by healthcare staff and with appropriate sensors could monitor and record blood pressure and other vital signs.
Tests on the potential of such a device scenario have been tested with a smartphone. This is a combination of personal digital assistant (PDA), a digital camera and a tri-band mobile phone. Such a device is already available in the form of the XDA Pocket PC, which is the focus of Leimeister's study.
The camera and certain other functions can be used separately from the phone unit, say the researchers, which means the device can be useful in various tasks even in restricted hospital areas. Otherwise, it can connect to the internet, send and receive email, and run a wide range of computing applications similar to those found on a personal computer. The calendar, diary, notepad, SMS, email, and instant messaging capability provide the most possibilities for adolescent cancer patients, the researchers say.
The researchers have trialled XDA use with a small group of cancer patients. Their preliminary findings are very promising. The patients found the calendar and reminders very useful for keeping track of their treatment, while access to text messaging was very popular. The team found that when the patients had access to their desktop PCs at home, the portable device was less used, but hospitals and rehabilitation centres where a PC was not available, the mobile device provided the means to organise their lives and to communicate with family and friends very effectively.
Jim Corlett | alfa
Medica 2018: New software for a more efficient planning of minimally invasive surgery
06.11.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
SwRI improves structural health monitoring with magnetostrictive transducer
30.10.2018 | Southwest Research Institute
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.
Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
12.11.2018 | Life Sciences
12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences
12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy