EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Medical News: Thank you, Dr. Spiegel

Breaking news this week – and all over the media – is about a study done at the University of Pennsylvania by Dr. James C. Coyne et al, which discusses the emotional or psychological attitude of patients who have cancer and their survival after diagnosis (citation: Cancer, online Oct 22, 2007).

On Google News, Oct 23 2007 at 9:34am, I read this comment by Dr. David Spiegel, director of the Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory of the Stanford University School of Medicine, which is shown here:

Coyne et al’s’ study adds little to our understanding of emotions and cancer. Coping well with cancer never was about ‘positive thinking,’ which is really just wishful thinking, pop psychology notwithstanding. Dealing well with real anger, fear, sadness, and other emotions that inevitably accompany cancer can help people live better with the disease. Good social support, including group support, helps people with cancer to do this and counter their frequent sense of social isolation. Clinical depression makes you feel terrible about yourself, drains energy, impairs the ability to get the best medical treatment, and in many studies is associated with shorter survival with cancer and heart disease.

“Coyne et al. picked four of twenty-seven items from a questionnaire that only 62% of the sample had filled out and found that they did not predict survival. That is hardly surprising: small measure, big biased sample, no results.

“Big deal. Absence of proof is not proof of absence, especially in a study this badly designed.”

(Credit: http://news.google.com/nwshp?tab=wn&ncl=1122482195&hl=en&topic=m&btclp=1&scoring=r)

Note: More information on the work of Dr. Spiegel and colleagues at the Stanford University Psychosocial Treatment Laboratory is here.

Refer also to the following online article from Reuters Health News dated Oct 22 2007.

One response to “Medical News: Thank you, Dr. Spiegel

  1. Pingback: News, Clinical Research: Reply Regarding Emotional States do not Predict Survival in Cancer Patients « EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

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