Concept: The Trial
Intranasal oxytocin treatment for social deficits and biomarkers of response in children with autism
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published 8 months ago
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by core social deficits. Prognosis is poor, in part, because existing medications target only associated ASD features. Emerging evidence suggests that the neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) may be a blood-based biomarker of social functioning and a possible treatment for ASD. However, prior OXT treatment trials have produced equivocal results, perhaps because of variability in patients' underlying neuropeptide biology, but this hypothesis has not been tested. Using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel design, we tested the efficacy and tolerability of 4-wk intranasal OXT treatment (24 International Units, twice daily) in 32 children with ASD, aged 6-12 y. When pretreatment neuropeptide measures were included in the statistical model, OXT compared with placebo treatment significantly enhanced social abilities in children with ASD [as measured by the trial’s primary outcome measure, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS)]. Importantly, pretreatment blood OXT concentrations also predicted treatment response, such that individuals with the lowest pretreatment OXT concentrations showed the greatest social improvement. OXT was well tolerated, and its effects were specific to social functioning, with no observed decrease in repetitive behaviors or anxiety. Finally, as with many trials, some placebo-treated participants showed improvement on the SRS. This enhanced social functioning was mirrored by a posttreatment increase in their blood OXT concentrations, suggesting that increased endogenous OXT secretion may underlie this improvement. These findings indicate that OXT treatment enhances social abilities in children with ASD and that individuals with pretreatment OXT signaling deficits may stand to benefit the most from OXT treatment.
Analysis of trial documentation has revealed that some industry-funded trials may be done more for marketing purposes than scientific endeavour. We aimed to define characteristics of drug trials that appear to be influenced by marketing considerations and estimate their prevalence.
Background Mechanical circulatory support with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is an established treatment for patients with advanced heart failure. We compared a newer LVAD design (a small intrapericardial centrifugal-flow device) against existing technology (a commercially available axial-flow device) in patients with advanced heart failure who were ineligible for heart transplantation. Methods We conducted a multicenter randomized trial involving 446 patients who were assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to the study (centrifugal-flow) device or the control (axial-flow) device. Adults who met contemporary criteria for LVAD implantation for permanent use were eligible to participate in the trial. The primary end point was survival at 2 years free from disabling stroke or device removal for malfunction or failure. The trial was powered to show noninferiority with a margin of 15 percentage points. Results The intention-to treat-population included 297 participants assigned to the study device and 148 participants assigned to the control device. The primary end point was achieved in 164 patients in the study group and 85 patients in the control group. The analysis of the primary end point showed noninferiority of the study device relative to the control device (estimated success rates, 55.4% and 59.1%, respectively, calculated by the Weibull model; absolute difference, 3.7 percentage points; 95% upper confidence limit, 12.56 percentage points; P=0.01 for noninferiority). More patients in the control group than in the study group had device malfunction or device failure requiring replacement (16.2% vs. 8.8%), and more patients in the study group had strokes (29.7% vs. 12.1%). Quality of life and functional capacity improved to a similar degree in the two groups. Conclusions In this trial involving patients with advanced heart failure who were ineligible for heart transplantation, a small, intrapericardial, centrifugal-flow LVAD was found to be noninferior to an axial-flow LVAD with respect to survival free from disabling stroke or device removal for malfunction or failure. (Funded by HeartWare; ENDURANCE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01166347 .).
In the past decade, a large body of research has demonstrated that internet-based interventions can have beneficial effects on depression. However, only a few clinical trials have compared internet-based depression therapy with an equivalent face-to-face treatment. The primary aim of this study was to compare treatment outcomes of an internet-based intervention with a face-to-face intervention for depression in a randomized non-inferiority trial.
Research on data sharing from clinical trials has focused on elucidating perceptions, barriers, and attitudes among trialists and study participants with respect to sharing data. However, little information exists regarding utilization or associated publication of articles once clinical trial data have been widely shared.
Background The safest ranges of oxygen saturation in preterm infants have been the subject of debate. Methods In two trials, conducted in Australia and the United Kingdom, infants born before 28 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to either a lower (85 to 89%) or a higher (91 to 95%) oxygen-saturation range. During enrollment, the oximeters were revised to correct a calibration-algorithm artifact. The primary outcome was death or disability at a corrected gestational age of 2 years; this outcome was evaluated among infants whose oxygen saturation was measured with any study oximeter in the Australian trial and those whose oxygen saturation was measured with a revised oximeter in the U.K. trial. Results After 1135 infants in Australia and 973 infants in the United Kingdom had been enrolled in the trial, an interim analysis showed increased mortality at a corrected gestational age of 36 weeks, and enrollment was stopped. Death or disability in the Australian trial (with all oximeters included) occurred in 247 of 549 infants (45.0%) in the lower-target group versus 217 of 545 infants (39.8%) in the higher-target group (adjusted relative risk, 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 1.27; P=0.10); death or disability in the U.K. trial (with only revised oximeters included) occurred in 185 of 366 infants (50.5%) in the lower-target group versus 164 of 357 infants (45.9%) in the higher-target group (adjusted relative risk, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.24; P=0.15). In post hoc combined, unadjusted analyses that included all oximeters, death or disability occurred in 492 of 1022 infants (48.1%) in the lower-target group versus 437 of 1013 infants (43.1%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.23; P=0.02), and death occurred in 222 of 1045 infants (21.2%) in the lower-target group versus 185 of 1045 infants (17.7%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.43; P=0.04). In the group in which revised oximeters were used, death or disability occurred in 287 of 580 infants (49.5%) in the lower-target group versus 248 of 563 infants (44.0%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.27; P=0.07), and death occurred in 144 of 587 infants (24.5%) versus 99 of 586 infants (16.9%) (relative risk, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.16 to 1.82; P=0.001). Conclusions Use of an oxygen-saturation target range of 85 to 89% versus 91 to 95% resulted in nonsignificantly higher rates of death or disability at 2 years in each trial but in significantly increased risks of this combined outcome and of death alone in post hoc combined analyses. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; BOOST-II Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN00842661 , and Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12605000055606 .).
When investigators enroll patients in a clinical study, they make an implicit contract with each participant. Through the data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) mechanism, they fulfill the first part of the contract - protecting the participant from avoidable harm that might result from participation in the trial. They fulfill the second part of the contract - the commitment to honor the time at risk that the participant spent in the trial - by deriving the clearest and most clinically directive information possible from the data gathered during the trial. This task takes tremendous time and energy. The SPRINT (Systolic . . .
The Tongue Drive System (TDS) is a wireless and wearable assistive technology, designed to allow individuals with severe motor impairments such as tetraplegia to access their environment using voluntary tongue motion. Previous TDS trials used a magnetic tracer temporarily attached to the top surface of the tongue with tissue adhesive. We investigated TDS efficacy for controlling a computer and driving a powered wheelchair in two groups of able-bodied subjects and a group of volunteers with spinal cord injury (SCI) at C6 or above. All participants received a magnetic tongue barbell and used the TDS for five to six consecutive sessions. The performance of the group was compared for TDS versus keypad and TDS versus a sip-and-puff device (SnP) using accepted measures of speed and accuracy. All performance measures improved over the course of the trial. The gap between keypad and TDS performance narrowed for able-bodied subjects. Despite participants with SCI already having familiarity with the SnP, their performance measures were up to three times better with the TDS than with the SnP and continued to improve. TDS flexibility and the inherent characteristics of the human tongue enabled individuals with high-level motor impairments to access computers and drive wheelchairs at speeds that were faster than traditional assistive technologies but with comparable accuracy.
A new form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device for people with severe speech impairment-the voice-input voice-output communication aid (VIVOCA)-is described. The VIVOCA recognizes the disordered speech of the user and builds messages, which are converted into synthetic speech. System development was carried out employing user-centered design and development methods, which identified and refined key requirements for the device. A novel methodology for building small vocabulary, speaker-dependent automatic speech recognizers with reduced amounts of training data, was applied. Experiments showed that this method is successful in generating good recognition performance (mean accuracy 96%) on highly disordered speech, even when recognition perplexity is increased. The selected message-building technique traded off various factors including speed of message construction and range of available message outputs. The VIVOCA was evaluated in a field trial by individuals with moderate to severe dysarthria and confirmed that they can make use of the device to produce intelligible speech output from disordered speech input. The trial highlighted some issues which limit the performance and usability of the device when applied in real usage situations, with mean recognition accuracy of 67% in these circumstances. These limitations will be addressed in future work.
Idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is among the most common, morbid and treatment-resistant conditions faced by nephrologists. While glucocorticoids have traditionally been the mainstay of initial treatment, they induce remission in only a minority of patients. A variety of other immunosuppressants have been utilized against steroid-resistant FSGS, but few have been rigorously examined in well-controlled trials. Recently, the results were published from a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored multicenter randomized trial comparing cyclosporine (CSA) with a combination of mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and pulse dexamethasone (DEX) for the treatment of steroid-resistant FSGS. No difference in treatment effectiveness was shown between the two groups, and adverse effects were comparable. This was the largest randomized trial ever undertaken in FSGS, but it was unfortunately underpowered to show clinically relevant differences in response rates. This shortcoming, along with particularities of the study population and outcome measures, makes it challenging to draw definitive conclusions from the trial results. Despite these limitations, the trial does provide valuable insights into treatment strategies for FSGS and offers important lessons for planning future research.