Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday News Roundup

Hypnosis Relieves Pain in Breast Cancer

In a recent article in the journal Health Psychology, a study was published that looked at 124 women with metastatic breast cancer. Pain and suffering was measured as well as frequency of pain and and the degree of constant pain. Participants levels of pain were measured at four-month intervals for one year. Patients were assigned to either a group that received educational sessions or hypnosis with group psychotherapy and education.

Women in the hypnosis treatment group reported "significantly less increase in the intensity of pain and suffering over time" when compared with women in the control group. Hypnosis however did not reduce the frequency or constancy of the women's episodes of pain.

It's not clear if hypnosis, the group psychotherapy, or a combination of both is the cause of the change. More research with a clearer design would help clear up this question. It's a good start though!

Checklists Save Lives

I heard an interview with Atul Gawande on NPR talking about the importance of checklists in a surgical practice. It seems that surgery has become so complex that it's nearly impossible for a medical team to complete all the complex tasks without error. Instituting a check list makes the complex procedures easier to perform and helps avert medical catastrophes. The checklist is seen by some as the biggest medical innovation of the last 30 years and will probably save more lives than any pice of research can.

Have any complex tasks in your life that would benefit from a checklist?

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