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1.  Nutritional supplement usage in patients admitted to a spinal cord injury center 
To (1) assess food intake; (2) establish the prevalence of dietary supplement usage and its associated cost (oral nutritional supplements (ONS); vitamin and mineral supplements (VMS)) and; (3) identify the characteristics of nutritional supplement users among patients admitted to a spinal cord injury (SCI) center.
Study design
A single center survey.
Standardized questionnaires were used to collect demographic information, food consumption over a 24-hour period, and the use of nutritional supplements. Multivariate logistic regression was used to determine the characteristics of dietary supplement usage and those using them.
Seventy-three patients with SCI completed and returned the questionnaires (69.5% response rate). From 67 questionnaires with food intake data, 21 patients (31.3%) consumed three full meals a day. Nine of the full 73 patients (12.3%) received artificial nutritional support, 14 of 73 (19.1%) received ONS, 34 of 73 (46.5%) received VMS, and 31 of 73 (42.4%) required assistance in order to eat. The three supplements most often prescribed were multivitamins (19.1%), vitamins B (17.8%), and vitamin D (13.6%). VMS use was associated with age (years: >60 vs. ≤60: 62.1 vs. 34.1%, P = 0.019), nutrition risk (Spinal Nutrition Screening Tool (≥11 vs. <11: 65.7 vs. 28.9%, P = 0.001), and serum albumin concentration (<35 vs. ≥35 g/l: 59.6 vs. 16%, P < 0.01). Patients at nutrition risk were found to consume more ONS than the lower risk group (28.5 vs. 10.5%, P = 0.05). The expenditures on ONS and VMS were higher in the group at greater nutritional risk (£1878.3 vs. £914.3, P = 0.005).
The use of nutritional supplements is common in patients with SCI, particularly in older adults and patients with poor nutritional state. However, the present study identified only small numbers of patients consuming all of their hospital meals, which may well contribute to undernutrition risk. Given that a high proportion of patients with SCI require assistance to eat, we suggest that further efforts focus on the feasibility of providing feeding assistants, and on reviewing the nature of the hospital menu.
PMCID: PMC3831326  PMID: 24090376
Nutritional supplement; Vitamins and Minerals; Malnutrition; Spinal cord injuries
2.  Cost-effectiveness of telecare for people with social care needs: the Whole Systems Demonstrator cluster randomised trial 
Age and Ageing  2014;43(6):794-800.
Purpose of the study: to examine the costs and cost-effectiveness of ‘second-generation’ telecare, in addition to standard support and care that could include ‘first-generation’ forms of telecare, compared with standard support and care that could include ‘first-generation’ forms of telecare.
Design and methods: a pragmatic cluster-randomised controlled trial with nested economic evaluation. A total of 2,600 people with social care needs participated in a trial of community-based telecare in three English local authority areas. In the Whole Systems Demonstrator Telecare Questionnaire Study, 550 participants were randomised to intervention and 639 to control. Participants who were offered the telecare intervention received a package of equipment and monitoring services for 12 months, additional to their standard health and social care services. The control group received usual health and social care.
Primary outcome measure: incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. The analyses took a health and social care perspective.
Results: cost per additional QALY was £297,000. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves indicated that the probability of cost-effectiveness at a willingness-to-pay of £30,000 per QALY gained was only 16%. Sensitivity analyses combining variations in equipment price and support cost parameters yielded a cost-effectiveness ratio of £161,000 per QALY.
Implications: while QALY gain in the intervention group was similar to that for controls, social and health services costs were higher. Second-generation telecare did not appear to be a cost-effective addition to usual care, assuming a commonly accepted willingness to pay for QALYs.
Trial registration number: ISRCTN 43002091.
PMCID: PMC4204660  PMID: 24950690
telecare; economic evaluation; social care; older people
3.  A pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial of telehealth on disease specific quality of life in patients’ with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and their health-related quality of life and psychological distress over 1 year in the Whole System Demonstrator programme 
There is limited evidence for the effectiveness of TH on quality of life (QoL) in patients with COPD. A systematic review in the area inclusive of all respiratory conditions indicated that there were no UK based studies, or randomised controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating the effectiveness of TH for COPD (Janna et al. 2009). A more recent systematic review found 6 studies, only two of which measured QoL as an outcome (Bolton et al. 2010). One of these studies was a RCT and found improvements in QoL at 3 months (Koff 2009), while the other was a non-controlled before and after study which found no difference in quality of life scores at 6 months (Trappenburg, 2008). Research in this area is plagued by small sample sizes, absence of longer-term follow-ups, insufficient descriptions of the intervention, poor internal validity of whether using the device in the context of a complex healthcare intervention leads to improved outcomes for the patient, and few attempts to measure quality of life in patients with COPD following the introduction of these devices.
Aims and objectives
The current investigation is part of the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of telehealth (TH) for patient reported outcomes with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The primary objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of telehealth for COPD specific QoL and to examine whether there were improvements in HRQoL and psychological distress at short-term and long-term follow-up in this cohort of patients with COPD.
WSD is one of the largest pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trials evaluating TH in the UK. Patients with COPD from three regions in England (Cornwall, Kent and Newham) were recruited from 179 GP practices randomised balancing for region, practice size, deprivation index, non-white proportion and prevalence of COPD. Over 570 patients with COPD completed a comprehensive battery of questionnaires assessing a range of patient reported outcomes. Measures of generic Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) (Short Form-12), disease specific QoL including perceived control over COPD, fatigue caused by the disease and the emotional impact of the disease (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire). Psychological distress was measured by depression (CESD-10) and anxiety (STAI).
Multi-level modelling was utilised to evaluate the effect of trial arm on HRQoL and COPD specific QoL. Results for intention-to-treat analysis, participants that received the intervention as per the research protocol, complete case analysis for cases with all baseline, short-term and longer-term follow-ups completed and an available case analysis of patients with either a short or long-term follow-up available. The results will be discussed and have important clinical implications for COPD management.
Results and conclusions are censored until any findings are published in peer-reviewed journals.
PMCID: PMC3571149
telehealth; COPD; Quality of life; Whole System Demonstrator
4.  Cerebral artery dilatation maintains cerebral oxygenation at extreme altitude and in acute hypoxia—an ultrasound and MRI study 
Transcranial Doppler is a widely used noninvasive technique for assessing cerebral artery blood flow. All previous high altitude studies assessing cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the field that have used Doppler to measure arterial blood velocity have assumed vessel diameter to not alter. Here, we report two studies that demonstrate this is not the case. First, we report the highest recorded study of CBF (7,950 m on Everest) and demonstrate that above 5,300 m, middle cerebral artery (MCA) diameter increases (n=24 at 5,300 m, 14 at 6,400 m, and 5 at 7,950 m). Mean MCA diameter at sea level was 5.30 mm, at 5,300 m was 5.23 mm, at 6,400 m was 6.66 mm, and at 7,950 m was 9.34 mm (P<0.001 for change between 5,300 and 7,950 m). The dilatation at 7,950 m reversed with oxygen. Second, we confirm this dilatation by demonstrating the same effect (and correlating it with ultrasound) during hypoxia (FiO2=12% for 3 hours) in a 3-T magnetic resonance imaging study at sea level (n=7). From these results, we conclude that it cannot be assumed that cerebral artery diameter is constant, especially during alterations of inspired oxygen partial pressure, and that transcranial 2D ultrasound is a technique that can be used at the bedside or in the remote setting to assess MCA caliber.
PMCID: PMC3208157  PMID: 21654697
brain imaging; cerebral blood flow; high altitude; MRI; transcranial Doppler
5.  A comprehensive evaluation of the impact of telemonitoring in patients with long-term conditions and social care needs: protocol for the whole systems demonstrator cluster randomised trial 
It is expected that increased demands on services will result from expanding numbers of older people with long-term conditions and social care needs. There is significant interest in the potential for technology to reduce utilisation of health services in these patient populations, including telecare (the remote, automatic and passive monitoring of changes in an individual's condition or lifestyle) and telehealth (the remote exchange of data between a patient and health care professional). The potential of telehealth and telecare technology to improve care and reduce costs is limited by a lack of rigorous evidence of actual impact.
We are conducting a large scale, multi-site study of the implementation, impact and acceptability of these new technologies. A major part of the evaluation is a cluster-randomised controlled trial of telehealth and telecare versus usual care in patients with long-term conditions or social care needs. The trial involves a number of outcomes, including health care utilisation and quality of life. We describe the broad evaluation and the methods of the cluster randomised trial
If telehealth and telecare technology proves effective, it will provide additional options for health services worldwide to deliver care for populations with high levels of need.
Trial Registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43002091
PMCID: PMC3169462  PMID: 21819569
6.  Patients’ beliefs about their cardiovascular disease 
Heart  2005;91(9):1235-1239.
PMCID: PMC1769080  PMID: 16103576
7.  An examination of factors influencing the choice of therapy for patients with coronary artery disease 
A diverse range of factors influence clinicians' decisions regarding the allocation of patients to different treatments for coronary artery disease in routine cardiology clinics. These include demographic measures, risk factors, co-morbidities, measures of objective cardiac disease, symptom reports and functional limitations. This study examined which of these factors differentiated patients receiving angioplasty from medication; bypass surgery from medication; and bypass surgery from angioplasty.
Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted on patient data from 214 coronary artery disease patients who at the time of recruitment had been received a clinical assessment and were reviewed by their cardiologist in order to determine the form of treatment they were to undergo: 70 would receive/continue medication, 71 were to undergo angioplasty and 73 were to undergo bypass surgery.
Analyses differentiating patients receiving angioplasty from medication produced 9 significant univariate predictors, of which 5 were also multivariately significant (left anterior descending artery disease, previous coronary interventions, age, hypertension and frequency of angina). The analyses differentiating patients receiving surgery from angioplasty produced 12 significant univariate predictors, of which 4 were multivariately significant (limitations in mobility range, circumflex artery disease, previous coronary interventions and educational level). The analyses differentiating patients receiving surgery from medication produced 14 significant univariate predictors, of which 4 were multivariately significant (left anterior descending artery disease, previous cerebral events, limitations in mobility range and circumflex artery disease).
Variables emphasised in clinical guidelines are clearly involved in coronary artery disease treatment decisions. However, variables beyond these may also be important factors when therapy decisions are undertaken thus their roles require further investigation.
PMCID: PMC1544353  PMID: 16820053
8.  Effect of telehealth on quality of life and psychological outcomes over 12 months (Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth questionnaire study): nested study of patient reported outcomes in a pragmatic, cluster randomised controlled trial  
Objective To assess the effect of second generation, home based telehealth on health related quality of life, anxiety, and depressive symptoms over 12 months in patients with long term conditions.
Design A study of patient reported outcomes (the Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth questionnaire study; baseline n=1573) was nested in a pragmatic, cluster randomised trial of telehealth (the Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth trial, n=3230). General practice was the unit of randomisation, and telehealth was compared with usual care. Data were collected at baseline, four months (short term), and 12 months (long term). Primary intention to treat analyses tested treatment effectiveness; multilevel models controlled for clustering by general practice and a range of covariates. Analyses were conducted for 759 participants who completed questionnaire measures at all three time points (complete case cohort) and 1201 who completed the baseline assessment plus at least one other assessment (available case cohort). Secondary per protocol analyses tested treatment efficacy and included 633 and 1108 participants in the complete case and available case cohorts, respectively.
Setting Provision of primary and secondary care via general practices, specialist nurses, and hospital clinics in three diverse regions of England (Cornwall, Kent, and Newham), with established integrated health and social care systems.
Participants Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, or heart failure recruited between May 2008 and December 2009.
Main outcome measures Generic, health related quality of life (assessed by physical and mental health component scores of the SF-12, and the EQ-5D), anxiety (assessed by the six item Brief State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), and depressive symptoms (assessed by the 10 item Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale).
Results In the intention to treat analyses, differences between treatment groups were small and non-significant for all outcomes in the complete case (0.480≤P≤0.904) or available case (0.181≤P≤0.905) cohorts. The magnitude of differences between trial arms did not reach the trial defined, minimal clinically important difference (0.3 standardised mean difference) for any outcome in either cohort at four or 12 months. Per protocol analyses replicated the primary analyses; the main effect of trial arm (telehealth v usual care) was non-significant for any outcome (complete case cohort 0.273≤P≤0.761; available case cohort 0.145≤P≤0.696).
Conclusions Second generation, home based telehealth as implemented in the Whole Systems Demonstrator Evaluation was not effective or efficacious compared with usual care only. Telehealth did not improve quality of life or psychological outcomes for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or heart failure over 12 months. The findings suggest that concerns about potentially deleterious effect of telehealth are unfounded for most patients.
Trial Registration ISRCTN43002091.
PMCID: PMC3582704  PMID: 23444424

Results 1-8 (8)