Legalized physician-assisted suicide in Oregon--the first year's experience.
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: On October 27, 1997, Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide. We collected data on all terminally ill Oregon residents who received prescriptions for lethal medications under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act and who died in 1998. The data were obtained from physicians' reports, death certificates, and interviews with physicians. We compared persons who took lethal medications prescribed under the act with those who died from similar illnesses but did not receive prescriptions for lethal medications. RESULTS: Information on 23 persons who received prescriptions for lethal medications was reported to the Oregon Health Division; 15 died after taking the lethal medications, 6 died from underlying illnesses, and 2 were alive as of January 1, 1999. The median age of the 15 patients who died after taking lethal medications was 69 years; 8 were male, and all 15 were white. Thirteen of the 15 patients had cancer. The case patients and controls were similar with regard to sex, race, urban or rural residence, level of education, health insurance coverage, and hospice enrollment. No case patients or controls expressed concern about the financial impact of their illness. One case patient and 15 controls expressed concern about inadequate control of pain (P=0.10). The case patients were more likely than the controls to have never married (P=0.04) and were more likely to be concerned about loss of autonomy due to illness (P=0.01) and loss of control of bodily functions (P=0.02). At death, 21 percent of the case patients and 84 percent of the controls were completely disabled (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: During the first year of legalized physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, the decision to request and use a prescription for lethal medication was associated with concern about loss of autonomy or control of bodily functions, not with fear of intractable pain or concern about financial loss. In addition, we found that the choice of physician-assisted suicide was not associated with level of education or health insurance coverage. (+info)
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy and quality of life.
The quality of life (QOL) of 79 people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and 37 non-diabetic controls was assessed using the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP). The NHP consists of six domains assessing energy, sleep, pain, physical mobility, emotional reactions and social isolation. Symptomatic diabetic neuropathy was present in 41 of the patients. The neuropathy patients had significantly higher scores (impaired QOL) in 5/6 NHP domains than either the other diabetic patients (p < 0.01) or the non-diabetic (p < 0.001) controls. These were: emotional reaction, energy, pain, physical mobility and sleep. The diabetic patients without neuropathy also had significantly impaired QOL for 4/6 NHP domains compared with the non-diabetic control group (p < 0.05) (energy, pain, physical mobility and sleep). This quantification of the detrimental effect on QOL of diabetes, and in particular of chronic symptomatic peripheral diabetic neuropathy, emphasizes the need for further research into effective management of these patients. (+info)
Teaching pedestrian skills to retarded persons: generalization from the classroom to the natural environment.
Little attention has been given to teaching adaptive community skills to retarded persons. In this study, five retarded male students were taught basic pedestrian skills in a classroom- Training was conducted on a model built to simulate city traffic conditions. Each subject was taught five specific skills involved in street crossing in sequence, viz. intersection recognition, pedestrian-light skills, traffic-light skills, and skills for two different stop-sign conditions. Before, during, and after training, subjects were tested on generalization probes on model and under actual city traffic conditions. Results of a multiple-baseline design acorss both subjects and behaviors indicated that after receiving classroom training on the skills, each subject exhibited appropriate pedestrian skills under city traffic conditions. In addition, training in some skills appeared to facilitate performance in skills not yet trained. (+info)
The Sock Test for evaluating activity limitation in patients with musculoskeletal pain.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Assessment within rehabilitation often must reflect patients' perceived functional problems and provide information on whether these problems are caused by impairments of the musculoskeletal system. Such capabilities were examined in a new functional test, the Sock Test, simulating the activity of putting on a sock. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Intertester reliability was examined in 21 patients. Concurrent validity, responsiveness, and predictive validity were examined in a sample of 337 patients and in subgroups of this sample. RESULTS: Intertester reliability was acceptable. Sock Test scores were related to concurrent reports of activity limitation in dressing activities. Scores also reflected questionnaire-derived reports of problems in a broad range of activities of daily living and pain and were responsive to change over time. Increases in age and body mass index increased the likelihood of Sock Test scores indicating activity limitation. Pretest scores were predictive of perceived difficulties in dressing activities after 1 year. CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: Sock Test scores reflect perceived activity limitations and restrictions of the musculoskeletal system. (+info)
The psychometric properties of clinical rating scales used in multiple sclerosis.
OullII;l y Many clinical rating scales have been proposed to assess the impact of multiple sclerosis on patients, but only few have been evaluated formally for reliability, validity and responsiveness. We assessed the psychometric properties of five commonly used scales in multiple sclerosis, the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), the Scripps Neurological Rating Scale (SNRS), the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), the Ambulation Index (AI) and the Cambridge Multiple Sclerosis Basic Score (CAMBS). The score frequency distributions of all five scales were either bimodal (EDSS and AI) or severely skewed (SNRS, FIM and CAMBS). The reliability of each scale depended on the definition of 'agreement'. Inter-and intra-rater reliabilities were high when 'agreement' was considered to exist despite a difference of up to 1.0 EDSS point (two 0.5 steps), 13 SNRS points, 9 FIM points, 1 AI point and 1 point on the various CAMBS domains. The FIM, AI, and the relapse and progression domains of the CAMBS were sensitive to clinical change, but the EDSS and the SNRS were unresponsive. The validity of these scales as impairment (SNRS and EDSS) and disability (EDSS, FIM, AI and the disability domain of the CAMBS) measures was established. All scales correlated closely with other measures of handicap and quality of life. None of these scales satisfied the psychometric requirements of outcome measures completely, but each had some desirable properties. The SNRS and the EDSS were reliable and valid measures of impairment and disability, but they were unresponsive. The FIM was a reliable, valid and responsive measure of disability, but it is cumbersome to administer and has a limited content validity. The AI was a reliable and valid ambulation-related disability scale, but it was weakly responsive. The CAMBS was a reliable (all four domains) and responsive (relapse and progression domains) outcome measure, but had a limited validity (handicap domain). These psychometric properties should be considered when designing further clinical trials in multiple sclerosis. (+info)
Efficacy and safety of rivastigmine in patients with Alzheimer's disease: international randomised controlled trial.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of rivastigmine on the core domains of Alzheimer's disease. DESIGN: Prospective, randomised, multicentre, double blind, placebo controlled, parallel group trial. Patients received either placebo, 1-4 mg/day (lower dose) rivastigmine, or 6-12 mg/day (higher dose) rivastigmine. Doses were increased in one of two fixed dose ranges (1-4 mg/day or 6-12 mg/day) over the first 12 weeks with a subsequent assessment period of 14 weeks. SETTING: 45 centres in Europe and North America. PARTICIPANTS: 725 patients with mild to moderately severe probable Alzheimer's disease diagnosed according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, and the criteria of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association. OUTCOME MEASURES: Cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's disease assessment scale, rating on the clinician interview based impression of change incorporating caregiver information scale, and the progressive deterioration scale. RESULTS: At the end of the study cognitive function had deteriorated among those in the placebo group. Scores on the Alzheimer's disease assessment scale improved in patients in the higher dose group when compared with patients taking placebo (P<0.05). Significantly more patients in the higher dose group had improved by 4 points or more than had improved in the placebo group (24% (57/242) v 16% (39/238)). Global function as rated by the clinician interview scale had significantly improved among those in the higher dose group compared with those taking placebo (P<0.001), and significantly more patients in the higher dose group showed improvement than did in the placebo group (37% (80/219) v 20% (46/230)). Mean scores on the progressive deterioration scale improved from baseline in patients in the higher dose group but fell in the placebo group. Adverse events were predominantly gastrointestinal, of mild to moderate severity, transient, and occurred mainly during escalation of the dose. 23% (55/242) of those in the higher dose group, 7% (18/242) of those in the lower dose group, and 7% (16/239) of those in the placebo group discontinued treatment because of adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: Rivastigmine is well tolerated and effective. It improves cognition, participation in activities of daily living, and global evaluation ratings in patients with mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. This is the first treatment to show compelling evidence of efficacy in a predominantly European population. (+info)
Long-term functional status and quality of life after lower extremity revascularization.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to assess the longer term (up to 7 years) functional status and quality of life outcomes from lower extremity revascularization. METHODS: This study was designed as a cross-sectional telephone survey and chart review at the University of Minnesota Hospital. The subjects were patients who underwent their first lower extremity revascularization procedure or a primary amputation for vascular disease between January 1, 1989, and January 31, 1995, who had granted consent or had died. The main outcome measures were ability to walk, SF-36 physical function, SF-12, subsequent amputation, and death. RESULTS: The medical records for all 329 subjects were reviewed after the qualifying procedures for details of the primary procedure (62.6% arterial bypass graft, 36.8% angioplasty, 0.6% atherectomy), comorbidities (64% diabetics), severity of disease, and other vascular risk factors. All 166 patients who were living were surveyed by telephone between June and August 1996. At 7 years after the qualifying procedure, 73% of the patients who were alive still had the qualifying limb, although 63% of the patients had died. Overall, at the time of the follow-up examination (1 to 7.5 years after the qualifying procedure), 65% of the patients who were living were able to walk independently and 43% had little or no limitation in walking several blocks. In a multiple regression model, patients with diabetes and patients who were older were less likely to be able to walk at follow-up examination and had a worse functional status on the SF-36 and a lower physical health on the SF-12. Number of years since the procedure was not a predictor in any of the analyses. CONCLUSION: Although the long-term mortality rate is high in the population that undergoes lower limb revascularization, the survivors are likely to retain their limb over time and have good functional status. (+info)
Infratentorial atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and disability in multiple sclerosis.
Loss of tissue volume in the central nervous system may provide an index of fixed neurological dysfunction in multiple sclerosis. Recent magnetic resonance studies have shown a modest relationship between clinical disability rating scores and transverse sectional area of the cervical spinal cord. To explore further the relationship between atrophy and disability in multiple sclerosis, we estimated the volumes of infratentorial structures from MRIs in a cross-sectional study of 41 patients, 21 with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and 20 with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. We used the Cavalieri method of modern design stereology with point counting to estimate the volume of brainstem, cerebellum and upper cervical spinal cord from three-dimensional MRIs acquired with an MPRAGE (Magnetization-prepared Rapid Acquisition Gradient Echo) sequence. The volume of the upper (C1-C3) cervical spinal cord was significantly correlated with a composite spinal cord score derived from the appropriate Functional Scale scores of the Expanded Disability Status Scale (r = -0.50, P < 0.01). The cerebellar (r = 0.49, P < 0.01) and brainstem (r = 0.34, P < 0.05) volumes correlated with the Scripp's Neurological Disability Rating Scale scores. The upper cervical cord volumes (r = -0.39, P < 0.01), but not the brainstem or cerebellar volumes, were significantly associated with disease duration. MRI-estimated structural volumes may provide a simple index of axonal and/or myelin loss, the presumed pathological substrates of irreversible impairment and disability in multiple sclerosis. (+info)