Investigating fatigue of less than 6 months' duration. Guidelines for family physicians.
OBJECTIVE: To develop an evidence-based systematic approach to assessment of adult patients who present to family physicians complaining of fatigue of less than 6 months' duration. The guidelines present investigative options, making explicit what should be considered in all cases and what should be considered only in specific situations. They aim to provide physicians with an approach that, to the extent possible, is based on evidence so that time and cost are minimized and detection and management of the cause of the fatigue are optimized. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: MEDLINE was searched from 1966 to 1997 using the key words "family practice" and "fatigue." Articles about chronic fatigue syndrome were excluded. Articles with level 3 evidence were found, but no randomized trials, cohort studies, or case-control studies were found. Articles looking specifically at the epidemiology, demographics, investigations, and diagnoses of patients with fatigue were chosen. Articles based on studies at referral and specialty centres were given less weight than those based on studies in family physicians' offices. MAIN MESSAGE: Adherence to these guidelines will decrease the cost of investigating the symptom of fatigue and optimize diagnosis and management. This needs to be proved in practice, however, and with research that produces level 1 and 2 evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Adults presenting with fatigue of less than 6 months' duration should be assessed for psychosocial causes and should have a focused history and physical examination to determine whether further investigations should be done. The guidelines outline investigations to be considered. The elderly require special consideration. These guidelines have group validation, but they need to be tested by more physicians in various locations and types of practices. (+info)
Meta-analysis: dietary fat intake, serum estrogen levels, and the risk of breast cancer.
BACKGROUND: There is compelling evidence that estrogens influence breast cancer risk. Since the mid-1980s, dietary fat intervention studies have been conducted to investigate the effect of fat intake on endogenous estrogen levels. To further our understanding of the possible relationship between dietary fat and breast cancer, we conducted a meta-analysis of dietary fat intervention studies that investigated serum estradiol levels, and we reviewed the nature of the evidence provided by prospective analytic studies of fat consumption and breast cancer risk. METHODS: A computerized search of the English language literature on estrogen/estradiol and dietary fat intervention studies published from January 1966 through June 1998 was conducted using the MEDLINE database. Pooled estimates were derived from the change in estradiol levels associated with fat reduction from 13 studies. Analyses were conducted separately for premenopausal and postmenopausal women and in both groups combined. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Statistically significant reductions in serum estradiol levels of -7.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = -11.7% to -2.9%) among premenopausal women and -23.0% (95% CI = -27.7% to -18.1%) among postmenopausal women were observed, with an overall -13.4% (95% CI = -16.6% to -10.1%) reduction observed. The greatest reductions occurred in two studies in which dietary fat was reduced to 10%-12% of calories compared with 18%-25% of calories in the other studies. A statistically significant reduction in estradiol levels of -6.6% (95% CI = -10.3% to -2.7%) remained after exclusion of these two studies. Review of prospective analytic epidemiologic studies that allowed for dietary measurement error suggests that the possibility that reducing fat consumption below 20% of calories will reduce breast cancer risk cannot be excluded. IMPLICATIONS: Dietary fat reduction can result in a lowering of serum estradiol levels and such dietary modification may still offer an approach to breast cancer prevention. (+info)
Identification and analysis of randomised controlled trials in nursing: a preliminary study.
OBJECTIVES: To describe preliminary work undertaken for development of a nursing contribution to the Cochrane Collaboration. To ascertain whether there are randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on nursing care which need to be identified for inclusion in systematic reviews of the effects of health care. DESIGN: Searches by Medline (1966-94) and by hand of 11 nursing research journals from inception to the end of 1994 to identify RCTs and systematic reviews; and a comparison of searches by hand and by Medline for three nursing research journals. MAIN MEASURES: Total number of RCTs identified and number of RCTs published in nursing journals; the sensitivity of Medline searches; and aspects of nursing care evaluated by RCT. RESULTS: The work is ongoing and 522 reports of RCTs and 20 systematic reviews of effectiveness have been identified so far. The sensitivity of Medline searches for RCTs in nursing journals is as low as 36% for one journal and the lack of reference to research design in the title or abstract was the main reason for the lack of sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS: There are RCTs that evaluate aspects of nursing care, and are published in nursing and non-nursing journals, and are largely undertaken by nurses. These must be reviewed in ongoing systematic reviews of the effects of health care (including those undertaken as part of the Cochrane Collaboration). Nursing journals must be hand searched to identify these studies as the lack of reference to study design in the titles and abstracts of nursing trials leads to poor indexing in electronic databases such as Medline. (+info)
Searching for information on outcomes: do you need to be comprehensive?
The concepts of evidence-based practice and clinical effectiveness are reliant on up to date, accurate, high quality, and relevant information. Although this information can be obtained from a range of sources, computerised databases such as MEDLINE offer a fast, effective means of bringing up to date information to clinicians, as well as health service and information professionals. Common problems when searching for information from databases include missing important relevant papers or retrieving too much information. Effective search strategies are therefore necessary to retrieve a manageable amount of relevant information. This paper presents a range of strategies which can be used to locate information on MEDLINE efficiently and effectively. (+info)
CD-ROM use by rural physicians.
A survey of 131 eastern Washington rural family physicians showed that 59.5% owned a personal computer with a CD-ROM drive. There was an inverse correlation between the physicians' years in practice and computer ownership: 10 years or less (80.6%), 11 to 20 years (72.2%), 21 to 30 years (55.6%), and more than 30 years (32.4%). Those physicians who owned a computer used their CD-ROM for entertainment (52.6%), medical textbooks (44.9%), literature searching software (25.6%), drug information (17.9%), continuing medical education (15.4%), and journals on CD-ROM (11.5%). Many rural doctors who owned computers felt that CD-ROM software helped them provide better patient care (46.8%) and kept them current on new information and techniques (48.4%). Indications for medical education, libraries and CD-ROM publishers are noted. (+info)
Efficacy of metformin in the treatment of NIDDM. Meta-analysis.
OBJECTIVE: The results differ concerning randomized controlled trials of the effects of metformin on blood glucose regulation and body weight. To get a systematic overview, a meta-analysis of the efficacy of metformin was performed by comparing metformin with placebo and sulfonylurea. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: All randomized controlled trials published since 1957 were selected by searching the Current List of Medical Literature, Cumulated Index Medicus, Medline, and Embase, Meta-analysis was performed calculating weighted mean difference (WMD) of fasting blood glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, and body weight. RESULTS: Nine randomized controlled trials comparing metformin with placebo and ten comparing metformin with sulfonylurea were identified. The WMD between metformin and placebo after treatment for fasting blood glucose was -2.0 mmol/l (95% CI -2.4 to -1.7) and for glycosylated hemoglobin -0.9% (95% CI -1.1 to -0.7). Body weight WMD was not significant after treatment. Sulfonylurea and metformin lowered blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin equally, while there was a significant WMD of body weight (-2.9 kg [95% CI -4.4 to -1.1]) because of a 1.7-kg mean increase after sulfonylurea and a 1.2-kg mean decrease after metformin. CONCLUSIONS: Metformin lowers blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin significantly, compared with placebo. Metformin and sulfonylurea have an equal effect on fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin, but the body weight is significantly lower after metformin compared with sulfonylurea treatment because of an increase in body weight after sulfonylurea treatment. (+info)
Interlibrary cooperation: from ILL to IAIMS and beyond.
A recent solicitation over the MEDLIB-L e-mail discussion list revealed over thirty diverse examples of hospital library-based interlibrary cooperative initiatives currently underway. Many are familiar and have been featured in the professional literature. Most go unreported and unrecognized however, comprising invisible resource-sharing infrastructures that hospital librarians painstakingly piece together in order to provide their clients with expanded service options. This paper, drawing from the MEDLIB-L survey as well as descriptions in the published literature, provides a broad overview of such recent interlibrary cooperative efforts. Examples include interlibrary loan networks, collective purchasing initiatives, holder-of-record or union catalog access agreements, arrangements to provide e-mail and Internet access, and consortia to share electronic resources. Examples were chosen based on the initiatives' diversity of participants, and represent a wide range of locations across the United States. Such initiatives focus on local, statewide, or regional collaboration, and several involve partnerships between academic medical center libraries and regional hospital libraries. An early example of a hospital-based interlibrary cooperative IAIMS effort is described, pointing to future possibilities involving the Internet and regional hospital system intranets. (+info)
The value of Web-based library services at Cedars-Sinai Health System.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Library/Information Center has maintained Web-based services since 1995 on the Cedars-Sinai Health System network. In that time, the librarians have found the provision of Web-based services to be a very worthwhile endeavor. Library users value the services that they access from their desktops because the services save time. They also appreciate being able to access services at their convenience, without restriction by the library's hours of operation. The library values its Web site because it brings increased visibility within the health system, and it enables library staff to expand services when budget restrictions have forced reduced hours of operation. In creating and maintaining the information center Web site, the librarians have learned the following lessons: consider the design carefully; offer what services you can, but weigh the advantages of providing the services against the time required to maintain them; make the content as accessible as possible; promote your Web site; and make friends in other departments, especially information services. (+info)