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Concept: Clinical research


The aerial view of the concept of data sharing is beautiful. What could be better than having high-quality information carefully reexamined for the possibility that new nuggets of useful data are lying there, previously unseen? The potential for leveraging existing results for even more benefit pays appropriate increased tribute to the patients who put themselves at risk to generate the data. The moral imperative to honor their collective sacrifice is the trump card that takes this trick. However, many of us who have actually conducted clinical research, managed clinical studies and data collection and analysis, and curated data sets have . . .

Concepts: Morality, Experimental design, Contract bridge, Medical statistics, Donald Trump, Avicenna, Clinical research, Clinical trial


This randomized controlled trial was performed to investigate whether placebo effects in chronic low back pain could be harnessed ethically by adding open-label placebo (OLP) treatment to treatment as usual (TAU) for 3 weeks. Pain severity was assessed on three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales, scoring maximum pain, minimum pain, and usual pain, and a composite, primary outcome, total pain score. Our other primary outcome was back-related dysfunction, assessed on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. In an exploratory follow-up, participants on TAU received placebo pills for 3 additional weeks. We randomized 97 adults reporting persistent low back pain for more than 3 months' duration and diagnosed by a board-certified pain specialist. Eighty-three adults completed the trial. Compared to TAU, OLP elicited greater pain reduction on each of the three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales and on the 0- to 10-point composite pain scale (P < 0.001), with moderate to large effect sizes. Pain reduction on the composite Numeric Rating Scales was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.0-2.0) in the OLP group and 0.2 (-0.3 to 0.8) in the TAU group. Open-label placebo treatment also reduced disability compared to TAU (P < 0.001), with a large effect size. Improvement in disability scores was 2.9 (1.7-4.0) in the OLP group and 0.0 (-1.1 to 1.2) in the TAU group. After being switched to OLP, the TAU group showed significant reductions in both pain (1.5, 0.8-2.3) and disability (3.4, 2.2-4.5). Our findings suggest that OLP pills presented in a positive context may be helpful in chronic low back pain.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Pharmaceutical industry, Statistical significance, Clinical research, Acupuncture, Low back pain, Effect size, Placebo


The aim of this study was to determine the cumulative effect of a routine (hot-to-) cold shower on sickness, quality of life and work productivity.

Concepts: Clinical research, Hygiene, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical trial, Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial


Background: The demand for clinically efficacious, safe, patient acceptable, and cost-effective forms of treatment for mental illness is growing. Several studies have demonstrated benefit from yoga in specific psychiatric symptoms and a general sense of well-being.Objective: To systematically examine the evidence for efficacy of yoga in the treatment of selected major psychiatric disorders.Methods: Electronic searches of The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and the standard bibliographic databases, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO, were performed through April 2011 and an updated in June 2011 using the keywords yoga AND psychiatry OR depression OR anxiety OR schizophrenia OR cognition OR memory OR attention AND randomized controlled trial (RCT). Studies with yoga as the independent variable and one of the above mentioned terms as the dependent variable were included and exclusion criteria were applied.Results: The search yielded a total of 124 trials, of which 16 met rigorous criteria for the final review. Grade B evidence supporting a potential acute benefit for yoga exists in depression (four RCTs), as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy in schizophrenia (three RCTs), in children with ADHD (two RCTs), and Grade C evidence in sleep complaints (three RCTs). RCTs in cognitive disorders and eating disorders yielded conflicting results. No studies looked at primary prevention, relapse prevention, or comparative effectiveness versus pharmacotherapy.Conclusion: There is emerging evidence from randomized trials to support popular beliefs about yoga for depression, sleep disorders, and as an augmentation therapy. Limitations of literature include inability to do double-blind studies, multiplicity of comparisons within small studies, and lack of replication. Biomarker and neuroimaging studies, those comparing yoga with standard pharmaco- and psychotherapies, and studies of long-term efficacy are needed to fully translate the promise of yoga for enhancing mental health.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical research, Mental health, Effectiveness, Mental disorder, Psychology, Psychiatry, Randomized controlled trial


In September 2010, the first International Scientific Tendinopathy Symposium (ISTS) was held in Umeå, Sweden, to establish a forum for original scientific and clinical insights in this growing field of clinical research and practice. The second ISTS was organised by the same group and held in Vancouver, Canada, in September 2012. This symposium was preceded by a round-table meeting in which the participants engaged in focused discussions, resulting in the following overview of tendinopathy clinical and research issues. This paper is a narrative review and summary developed during and after the second ISTS. The document is designed to highlight some key issues raised at ISTS 2012, and to integrate them into a shared conceptual framework. It should be considered an update and a signposting document rather than a comprehensive review. The document is developed for use by physiotherapists, physicians, athletic trainers, massage therapists and other health professionals as well as team coaches and strength/conditioning managers involved in care of sportspeople or workers with tendinopathy.

Concepts: Clinical research, Clinical trial, Management, Physical therapy, Medicine, Canada, Research, Massage


Curcumin is a constituent (up to ∼5%) of the traditional medicine known as turmeric. Interest in the therapeutic use of turmeric and the relative ease of isolation of curcuminoids has led to their extensive investigation. Curcumin has recently been classified as both a PAINS (pan-assay interference compounds) and an IMPS (invalid metabolic panaceas) candidate. The likely false activity of curcumin in vitro and in vivo has resulted in >120 clinical trials of curcuminoids against several diseases. No double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial of curcumin has been successful. This manuscript reviews the essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin and provides evidence that curcumin is an unstable, reactive, nonbioavailable compound and, therefore, a highly improbable lead. On the basis of this in-depth evaluation, potential new directions for research on curcuminoids are discussed.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Clinical research, Medicine, Epidemiology, The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna, Clinical trial, Pharmacology


Background Current treatment recommendations for patients with polycythemia vera call for maintaining a hematocrit of less than 45%, but this therapeutic strategy has not been tested in a randomized clinical trial. Methods We randomly assigned 365 adults with JAK2-positive polycythemia vera who were being treated with phlebotomy, hydroxyurea, or both to receive either more intensive treatment (target hematocrit, <45%) (low-hematocrit group) or less intensive treatment (target hematocrit, 45 to 50%) (high-hematocrit group). The primary composite end point was the time until death from cardiovascular causes or major thrombotic events. The secondary end points were cardiovascular events, cardiovascular hospitalizations, incidence of cancer, progression to myelofibrosis, myelodysplasia or leukemic transformation, and hemorrhage. An intention-to-treat analysis was performed. Results After a median follow-up of 31 months, the primary end point was recorded in 5 of 182 patients in the low-hematocrit group (2.7%) and 18 of 183 patients in the high-hematocrit group (9.8%) (hazard ratio in the high-hematocrit group, 3.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45 to 10.53; P=0.007). The primary end point plus superficial-vein thrombosis occurred in 4.4% of patients in the low-hematocrit group, as compared with 10.9% in the high-hematocrit group (hazard ratio, 2.69; 95% CI, 1.19 to 6.12; P=0.02). Progression to myelofibrosis, myelodysplasia or leukemic transformation, and bleeding were observed in 6, 2, and 2 patients, respectively, in the low-hematocrit group, as compared with 2, 1, and 5 patients, respectively, in the high-hematocrit group. There was no significant between-group difference in the rate of adverse events. Conclusions In patients with polycythemia vera, those with a hematocrit target of less than 45% had a significantly lower rate of cardiovascular death and major thrombosis than did those with a hematocrit target of 45 to 50%. (Funded by the Italian Medicines Agency and others; number, NCT01645124 , and EudraCT number, 2007-006694-91 .).

Concepts: Clinical research, Function, Randomized controlled trial, Epidemiology, Hematology, Polycythemia vera, Blood, Clinical trial


Background Many patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria (also called chronic spontaneous urticaria) do not have a response to therapy with H(1)-antihistamines, even at high doses. In phase 2 trials, omalizumab, an IgE monoclonal antibody that targets IgE and affects mast-cell and basophil function, has shown efficacy in such patients. Methods In this phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind study, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of omalizumab in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic idiopathic urticaria who remained symptomatic despite H(1)-antihistamine therapy (licensed doses). We randomly assigned 323 patients to receive three subcutaneous injections, spaced 4 weeks apart, of omalizumab at doses of 75 mg, 150 mg, or 300 mg or placebo, followed by a 16-week observation period. The primary efficacy outcome was the change from baseline in a weekly itch-severity score (ranging from 0 to 21, with higher scores indicating more severe itching). Results The baseline weekly itch-severity score was approximately 14 in all four study groups. At week 12, the mean (±SD) change from baseline in the weekly itch-severity score was -5.1±5.6 in the placebo group, -5.9±6.5 in the 75-mg group (P=0.46), -8.1±6.4 in the 150-mg group (P=0.001), and -9.8±6.0 in the 300-mg group (P<0.001). Most prespecified secondary outcomes at week 12 showed similar dose-dependent effects. The frequency of adverse events was similar across groups. The frequency of serious adverse events was low, although the rate was higher in the 300-mg group (6%) than in the placebo group (3%) or in either the 75-mg or 150-mg group (1% for each). Conclusions Omalizumab diminished clinical symptoms and signs of chronic idiopathic urticaria in patients who had remained symptomatic despite the use of approved doses of H(1)-antihistamines. (Funded by Genentech and Novartis Pharma; number, NCT01292473 .).

Concepts: Urticaria, Pharmacology, Medical terms, Clinical research, Clinical trial


Obesity is associated with increased mortality, and weight loss trials show rapid improvement in many mortality risk factors. Yet, observational studies typically associate weight loss with higher mortality risk. The purpose of this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of weight loss was to clarify the effects of intentional weight loss on mortality.

Concepts: The Canon of Medicine, Clinical research, Pharmaceutical industry, Randomized controlled trial, Clinical trial, Experimental design, Medical statistics, Epidemiology


Industry-sponsored clinical drug studies are associated with publication of outcomes that favor the sponsor, even when controlling for potential bias in the methods used. However, the influence of sponsorship bias has not been examined in preclinical animal studies. We performed a meta-analysis of preclinical statin studies to determine whether industry sponsorship is associated with either increased effect sizes of efficacy outcomes and/or risks of bias in a cohort of published preclinical statin studies. We searched Medline (January 1966-April 2012) and identified 63 studies evaluating the effects of statins on atherosclerosis outcomes in animals. Two coders independently extracted study design criteria aimed at reducing bias, results for all relevant outcomes, sponsorship source, and investigator financial ties. The I(2) statistic was used to examine heterogeneity. We calculated the standardized mean difference (SMD) for each outcome and pooled data across studies to estimate the pooled average SMD using random effects models. In a priori subgroup analyses, we assessed statin efficacy by outcome measured, sponsorship source, presence or absence of financial conflict information, use of an optimal time window for outcome assessment, accounting for all animals, inclusion criteria, blinding, and randomization. The effect of statins was significantly larger for studies sponsored by nonindustry sources (-1.99; 95% CI -2.68, -1.31) versus studies sponsored by industry (-0.73; 95% CI -1.00, -0.47) (p value<0.001). Statin efficacy did not differ by disclosure of financial conflict information, use of an optimal time window for outcome assessment, accounting for all animals, inclusion criteria, blinding, and randomization. Possible reasons for the differences between nonindustry- and industry-sponsored studies, such as selective reporting of outcomes, require further study.

Concepts: Pre-clinical development, Medical statistics, Atherosclerosis, Pharmaceutical industry, Sponsor, Effect size, Clinical research, Effectiveness