Articles of interest in other scholarly journals

Do CBT-Based Interventions Alleviate Distress Following Bereavement? A Review of the Current Evidence

International Journal of Cognitive Therapy 2010; 3(1): 77-93 doi: 10.1521/ijct.2010.3.1.77

This review found that cognitive-behavioural therapy based interventions provided significant benefits for bereaved adults compared with non-cognitive-behavioural strategies and no treatment. Reviewers of this paper have commented on the lack of information on the quality of the reviewed studies, so calling into question authors’ conclusions.

Pharmacological treatments for fatigue associated with palliative care

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2010, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD006788. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006788.pub2.

In this Cochrane Systematic Review, which reviewed RCTs until June 2009, the authors concluded that based on limited evidence, they cannot recommend a specific drug for treatment of fatigue in palliative care patients. Surprisingly, corticosteroids have not been a research focus for fatigue treatment, although these drugs are frequently used. Recent fatigue research seems to focus on modafinil, which may be beneficial although there is no evidence currently. Amantadine and methylphenidate should be further examined. Consensus regarding fatigue assessment in advanced disease is needed.

Does Supplemental Oxygen Reduce Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Anesthesia and Analgesia 2008; 106(6): 1733-1738 doi: 10.1213/​ane.0b013e3181731c5a

Based mostly on recent evidence, this review concluded that perioperative supplemental oxygen did not significantly reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting and could no longer be recommended as an effective intervention to prevent this.

Effects of befriending on depressive symptoms and distress: systematic review and meta-analysis

British Journal of Psychiatry 2010; 196(2): 96-101 doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.109.064089

The authors concluded that befriending had a modest effect of depressive symptoms and emotional distress in varied patient groups. Although the quality of trials included in the review was not high, this well conducted review came up with measured conclusions.

Droperidol for treatment of nausea and vomiting in palliative care patients

Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 10. Art. No.: CD006938. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006938.pub2.

In this Cochrane Systematic Review no studies were identified which met the inclusion criteria, therefore, there were no included studies in this review.

The authors concluded that there is insufficient evidence to advise on the use of droperidol for the management of nausea and vomiting in palliative care. Studies of antiemetics in palliative care settings are needed to identify which agents are most effective with a minimum of side effects.

Effects of moderate-to-high intensity resistance training in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF)

Heart 2009;95:1399-1408 doi:10.1136/hrt.2008.159582

In this systematic review the authors concluded that even though moderate-to-high intensity resistance training does not seem to be harmful for patients with CHF, the current peer-reviewed evidence seems inadequate to generally recommend incorporation of resistance training into exercise-based rehabilitation programmes for patients with CHF. The small number of included trials, their small sample sizes and poor quality would seem to underline the lack of an evidence base in this area.

Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cannabis Treatment for Chronic Pain

Systematic review and meta-analysis of cannabis treatment for chronic pain. Pain Medicine 2009; 10(8): 1353-1368 doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2009.00703.x

The authors concluded that current available evidence suggests that cannabis treatment is moderately efficacious for treatment of chronic pain, but beneficial effects may be partially (or completely) offset by potentially serious harms. More evidence from larger, well-designed trials is needed to clarify the true balance of benefits to harms. However, once again trials of less than optimal quality were included in the study and the methodology was incompletely reported.

Transdermal fentanyl as a front-line approach to moderate-severe pain: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials

Journal of Palliative Care 2009; 25(3): 172-180

The authors concluded that transdermal fentanyl and slow release oral morphine seemed to have different side-effect profiles; transdermal fentanyl seemed to be preferred by patients. The hierarchical approach traditionally recommended by the main scientific societies (oral morphine and then TF) could be replaced by a front-line approach based on patients’ characteristics and needs.However, a small number of  trials, some of poor quality,were included in this review, so the reliability of the authors’ conclusion could be questioned.

Short Cuts by Jason Boland, University of Sheffield, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences