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1.  Medication and falls in elderly outpatients: an epidemiological study from a German Pharmacovigilance Network 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:483.
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between fall risk increasing drugs (FRIDS) and the risk of falls in regard to fall-related chronic diseases. In total, 39 primary care physicians in Germany participated in the EvaMed Pharmacovigilance Network. Antihypertensives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, hypnotics and sedatives, antidepressants and psycholeptics were labelled as FRIDS. A fall was defined according to a diagnosis in the chapter Injury or poisoning (S00-T14 in International Statistical Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD-10)). Patients older than or equal to 65 years with at least two doctor’s visits were included. FRIDS were prescribed for 1768 patients from a total of 5124 patients included in the analysis. FRIDS and seven chronic diseases were statistically significant associated with a higher risk of experiencing a fall. The risk was highest for patients with a diagnosis abnormalities of gait and mobility, vertigo, visual -impairment and weight loss, and increased by 50-90% with arthritis, diseases of arteries, arterioles and capillaries and heart failure. From patients (N = 425) with at least one diagnosis of fall, 219 patients were prescribed FRIDS. In 100 (45.7%) of cases the diagnoses for fall were made before and in 105 (47.9%) of cases at least a month after the prescription of FRIDS. 14 (6.4%) patients had a prescription of FRIDS and a diagnosis of fall within one month. Perceptual disorders, low walking speed and pain are prominent predictors for falls in the elderly. A prescription of FRIDS selects more vulnerable patients having a higher risk of falls. However, experiencing a fall is mainly due to the disease followed by treatment. Thus, not prescribing FRIDS will avoid only a small number of falls.
doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-483
PMCID: PMC4158008  PMID: 25207204
Fall risk increasing drugs; Fall-related chronic diseases; Falls in elderly
2.  Molecular biology approaches in bioadhesion research 
Summary
The use of molecular biology tools in the field of bioadhesion is still in its infancy. For new research groups who are considering taking a molecular approach, the techniques presented here are essential to unravelling the sequence of a gene, its expression and its biological function. Here we provide an outline for addressing adhesion-related genes in diverse organisms. We show how to gradually narrow down the number of candidate transcripts that are involved in adhesion by (1) generating a transcriptome and a differentially expressed cDNA list enriched for adhesion-related transcripts, (2) setting up a BLAST search facility, (3) perform an in situ hybridization screen, and (4) functional analyses of selected genes by using RNA interference knock-down. Furthermore, latest developments in genome-editing are presented as new tools to study gene function. By using this iterative multi-technologies approach, the identification, isolation, expression and function of adhesion-related genes can be studied in most organisms. These tools will improve our understanding of the diversity of molecules used for adhesion in different organisms and these findings will help to develop innovative bio-inspired adhesives.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.112
PMCID: PMC4142862  PMID: 25161834
bioadhesion; differential gene expression; in situ hybridization; RNA interference; transcriptome
3.  Arts Therapies for Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
Background. Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. However, only a few trials assess the effects of arts therapies. Material and Methods. We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, and Google Scholar from their start date to January 2012. We handsearched reference lists and contacted experts. All randomized controlled trials, quasi-randomized trials, and controlled clinical trials of art interventions in breast cancer patients were included. Data were extracted and risk of bias was assessed. Meta-analyses were performed using standardized mean differences. Results. Thirteen trials with a total of 606 patients were included. Arts therapies comprised music therapy interventions, various types of art therapy, and dance/movement therapies. The methodological quality ranged from poor to high quality with the majority scoring 3 of 4 points on the Jadad scale. Results suggest that arts therapies seem to positively affect patients' anxiety (standardized mean difference: −1.10; 95%, confidence interval: −1.40 to −0.80) but not depression or quality of life. No conclusion could be drawn regarding the effects of arts therapy on pain, functional assessment, coping, and mood states. Discussion. Our review indicates that arts interventions may have beneficial effects on anxiety in patients with breast cancer.
doi:10.1155/2014/103297
PMCID: PMC3955604  PMID: 24817896
4.  Are the Effects of Homeopathy Attributable to a Statistical Artefact? A Reanalysis of an Observational Study 
Background. Cohort studies have reported that patients improve considerably after individualised homeopathic treatment. However, these results may be biased by regression to the mean (RTM). Objective. To evaluate whether the observed changes in previous cohort studies are due to RTM and to estimate RTM adjusted effects. Methods. SF-36 quality-of-life (QoL) data from a German cohort of 2827 chronically diseased adults treated by a homeopath were reanalysed by Mee and Chua's modified t-test. Results. RTM adjusted effects, standardized by the respective standard deviation at baseline, were 0.12 (95% CI: 0.06–0.19, P < 0.001) in the mental and 0.25 (0.22–0.28, P < 0.001) in the physical summary score. Small-to-moderate effects were confirmed for the most individual diagnoses in physical, but not in mental component scores. Under the assumption that the true population mean equals the mean of all actually diseased patients, RTM adjusted effects were confirmed for both scores in most diagnoses. Conclusions. Changes in QoL after treatment by a homeopath are small but cannot be explained by RTM alone. As all analyses made conservative assumptions, true RTM adjusted effects are probably larger than presented.
doi:10.1155/2013/612890
PMCID: PMC3874951  PMID: 24396390
5.  Additive Complex Ayurvedic Treatment in Patients with Fibromyalgia Syndrome Compared to Conventional Standard Care Alone: A Nonrandomized Controlled Clinical Pilot Study (KAFA Trial) 
Background. Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a challenging condition for health care systems worldwide. Only limited trial data is available for FMS for outcomes of complex treatment interventions of complementary and integrative (CIM) approaches. Methods. We conducted a controlled, nonrandomized feasibility study that compared outcomes in 21 patients treated with Ayurveda with those of 11 patients treated with a conventional approach at the end of a two-week inpatient hospital stay. Primary outcome was the impact of fibromyalgia on patients as assessed by the FIQ. Secondary outcomes included scores of pain intensity, pain perception, depression, anxiety, and quality of sleep. Follow-up assessments were done after 6 months. Results. At 2 weeks, there were comparable and significant improvements in the FIQ and for most of secondary outcomes in both groups with no significant in-between-group differences. The beneficial effects for both treatment groups were partly maintained for the main outcome and a number of secondary outcomes at the 6-month followup, again with no significant in-between-group differences. Discussion. The findings of this feasibility study suggest that Ayurvedic therapy is noninferior to conventional treatment in patients with severe FMS. Since Ayurveda was only used as add-on treatment, RCTs on Ayurveda alone are warranted to increase model validity. This trial is registered with NCT01389336.
doi:10.1155/2013/751403
PMCID: PMC3773902  PMID: 24073008
6.  Aromatherapy as an Adjuvant Treatment in Cancer Care — A Descriptive Systematic Review 
Claims of benefits of aromatherapy for cancer patients include reduced anxiety levels and relief of emotional stress, pain, muscular tension and fatigue. The objective of this paper is to provide an updated descriptive, systematic review of evidence from pre-clinical and clinical trials assessing the benefits and safety of aromatherapy for cancer patients. Literature databases such as Medline (via Ovid), the Cochrane database of systematic reviews, Cochrane Central were searched from their inception until October 2010. Only studies on cancer cells or cancer patients were included. There is no long lasting effect of aromatherapy massage, while short term improvements were reported for general well being, anxiety and depression up to 8 weeks after treatment. The reviewed studies indicate short-term effects of aromatherapy on depression, anxiety and overall wellbeing. Specifically, some clinical trials found an increase in patient-identified symptom relief, psychological wellbeing and improved sleep. Furthermore, some found a short-term improvement (up to 2 weeks after treatment) in anxiety and depression scores and better pain control. Although essential oils have generally shown minimal adverse effects, potential risks include ingesting large amounts (intentional misuse); local skin irritation, especially with prolonged skin contact; allergic contact dermatitis; and phototoxicity from reaction to sunlight (some oils). Repeated topical administration of lavender and tea tree oil was associated with reversible prepubertal gynecomastia.
PMCID: PMC3746639  PMID: 23983386
aromatherapy; essential oil; massage; cancer; review
8.  Does the care dependency of nursing home residents influence their health-related quality of life?-A cross-sectional study 
Background
Studies on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are missing for nursing home residents independent from their health conditions or interventions after admission. Our aim was to analyse if the care dependency of nursing home residents influence their HRQOL and to describe HRQOL of nursing home residents at the time of admission.
Method
Eleven German nursing homes were randomly selected for a cross-sectional multicentre study from April 2008 until December 2009. HRQOL was measured with the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) in the six domains “Physical Mobility”, ”Energy”, “Pain”, “Social Isolation”, “Emotional Reaction” and “Sleep”. Domain scores range from zero (good subjective health status) to 100 (poor subjective health status). Care dependency was evaluated using the Care Dependency Scale, age, sex, cognitive status and diseases were documented by the research assistants. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to quantify the influence of care dependency on HRQOL.
Results
120 residents were included in total. HRQOL was mostly reduced in the domains “Physical Mobility” and ”Energy“ (mean scores >43.0), while impairment differences in the domains “Pain”, “Social Isolation”, “Emotional Reaction” and “Sleep” were only moderate (≤25.0). HRQOL was not influenced by the age. Women (n = 85) had a significantly poorer HRQOL in the domain “Pain” than men (mean score women: 29.5 ± 31.5; males: 14.9 ± 17.2; p = 0.011). Care dependency had an influence on the domain “Sleep” (ß = −0.195, p = 0.031), while the other domains were not influenced by care dependency. Residents with a low care dependency scored significantly lower (better HRQOL) in the domain “Sleep” than residents with a high care dependency (mean score 15.3; SD ± 19.0 versus mean score 32.8 SD ± 33.2; p < 0.02).
Conclusion
The level of care dependency has no influence on the HRQOL from the nursing home residents’ perspective apart from the domain “Sleep”. High care dependency residents have a lower HRQOL in the domain “Sleep” compared to moderate and low care dependency residents. We found a significantly lower HRQOL in women compared to men in the domain “Pain“.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-41
PMCID: PMC3607891  PMID: 23497216
Heath-related quality of life; Care dependency; Nursing home residents
9.  Cost Analysis of Integrative Inpatient Treatment Based on DRG Data: The Example of Anthroposophic Medicine 
Background. Much work has been done to evaluate the outcome of integrative inpatient treatment but scarcely the costs. This paper evaluates the costs for inpatient treatment in three anthroposophic hospitals (AHs). Material and Methods. Cost and performance data from a total of 23,180 cases were analyzed and compared to national reference data. Subgroup analysis was performed between the cases with and without anthroposophic medical complex (AMC) treatment. Results. Costs and length of stay in the cases without AMC displayed no relevant differences compared to the national reference data. In contrast the inlier cases with AMC caused an average of € 1,394 more costs. However costs per diem were not higher than those in the national reference data. Hence, the delivery of AMC was associated with a prolonged length of stay. 46.6% of the cases with AMC were high outliers. Only 10.6% of the inlier cases with AMC were discharged before reaching the mean length of stay of each DRG. Discussion. Treatment in an AH is not generally associated with an increased use of resources. However, the provision of AMC leads to a prolonged length of stay and cannot be adequately reimbursed by the current G-DRG system. Due to the heterogeneity of the patient population, an additional payment should be negotiated individually.
doi:10.1155/2013/748932
PMCID: PMC3572651  PMID: 23431346
10.  The Effects of Integrative In-Patient Treatment on Patients' Quality of Life: A Meta-Analysis 
Background. In the last decades, several hospitals have adopted this concept of integrative medicine for the treatment of chronic and acute states of illnesses in in-patient treatment. The aim of this paper was to summarize the current evidence for a possible effectiveness of integrative on-patient treatment in patients' quality of life by means of a meta-analysis. Material and Methods. The databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, PsycInfo, PsycLit CCMED, and CAMbase were screened to find articles. We also screened publisher databases to find relevant information. Articles were included if patients were treated in a hospital. To guarantee comparability SF-36 was the predefined outcome measure for patients' quality of life. Data of pre/posteffects on the mental and physical scores of the SF-36 were extracted and effect sizes were calculated and entered into a random effect meta-analysis. Results. Eight articles published between 2003 and 2010 were included in the final meta-analysis. Random effect meta-analysis of the eight studies revealed an overall effect size of 0.37 (95% CI: [0.28; 0.45]) in the physical score and 0.38 (95% CI: [0.30; 0.45]) in the mental score of the SF-36. I2 statistics indicate a high heterogeneity in the effects in both the physical and mental scores of the SF-36 (I2 = 91.8%, P < 0.001, resp.; I2 = 86.7%, P < 0.001). Discussion. This meta-analysis might help to rediscover the importance of integrative in-patient treatment for patients, physicians, and stakeholders.
doi:10.1155/2013/416510
PMCID: PMC3569887  PMID: 23431339
11.  Depression, Comorbidities, and Prescriptions of Antidepressants in a German Network of GPs and Specialists with Subspecialisation in Anthroposophic Medicine: A Longitudinal Observational Study 
Background. Depression is a major reason for counselling in primary care. Our study aims at evaluating pharmacological treatment strategies among physicians specialised in anthroposophic medicine (AM). Methods. From 2004 to 2008, twenty-two German primary care AM-physicians participated in this prospective, multicentre observational study. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with a prescription of any antidepressant medication. Results. A total of 2444 patients with depression were included (mean age: 49.1 years (SD: 15.4); 77.3% female). 2645 prescriptions of antidepressants for 833 patients were reported. Phytotherapeutic preparations from Hypericum perforatum were the most frequently prescribed antidepressants over all (44.6% of all antidepressants), followed by amitriptyline (16.1%). The likelihood of receiving an antidepressant medication did not depend on comorbidity after controlling for age, gender, physician specialisation, and type of depression (adjusted OR (AOR) = 1.01; CI: 0.81–1.26). Patients who had cancer were significantly less likely to be prescribed an antidepressant medication than those who had no cancer (AOR = 0.75; CI: 0.57–0.97). Conclusion. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of everyday practice for the treatment of depression in AM -physicians. Further analysis regarding the occurrence of critical combinations is of high interest to health services research.
doi:10.1155/2012/508623
PMCID: PMC3529476  PMID: 23304204
12.  Effects of Yoga Interventions on Fatigue: A Meta-Analysis 
Background. Researchers aimed at systematically reviewing and meta-analyzing the effectiveness of yoga interventions for fatigue. Methods. PubMed/Medline was searched until January 2012 for controlled clinical studies. Two reviewers independently extracted the data. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed. A meta-analysis was performed. Results. Nineteen clinical studies (total n = 948) were included in this review. Investigated yoga styles included Hatha, Iyengar, Asanas, Patanjali, Sahaja, and Tibetan yoga. Participants were suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, dialysis, chronic pancreatitis, fibromyalgia, asthma, or were healthy. Yoga had a small positive effect on fatigue (SMD = 0.27, 59% CI = 0.23–0.31). Seven studies received 4 points on the Jadad score. There were baseline differences in at least 5 studies. Conclusion. Overall, the effects of yoga interventions on fatigue were only small, particularly in cancer patients. Although yoga is generally a safe therapeutic intervention and effective to attenuate other health-related symptoms, this meta-analysis was not able to define the powerful effect of yoga on patients suffering from fatigue. Treatment effects of yoga could be improved in well-designed future studies. According to the GRADE recommendations assessing the overall quality of evidence, there is a moderate effect of the confidence placed in the estimates of the effects discussed here.
doi:10.1155/2012/124703
PMCID: PMC3443845  PMID: 22991569
13.  Psychometric properties of the Confidence and Trust in Delivery Questionnaire (CTDQ): a pilot study 
BMC Women's Health  2012;12:26.
Background
Assessing expecting mother’s opinions prior to birth draws a comprehensive picture for the caregivers about their emotional state and their expectations. Some questionnaires to cover these aspects do exist. This study aims to present the psychometric properties of a new instrument, the Confidence and Trust in Delivery Questionnaire (CDTQ) a short but reliable a self-report instrument that focuses on confidence and trust as meaningful dimensions for expectant mothers.
Methods
A pilot validation study of 221 women 6 weeks before childbirth was conducted in Germany between October 2007 and June 2008. To detect structural relations between the items, factor and reliability analyses were applied to the CTDQ items. Factor analysis was performed by means of principal components analysis and varimax rotation. Internal reliability was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha. External validation was performed using the sense of coherence (SOC) scale.
Results
The CTDQ comprises of 11 items. We found a 4-factor structure. The internal consistency of the whole item pool (Cronbach’s α = 0.79) and the 4 subscales [confidence in labor (α = 0.82); partner’s support (α = 0.62); trust in medical competency (α = 0.68); being informed (α = 0.60)] can be regarded as sufficient or even excellent. The 4 factors explained 69.6% of total variance. Except for a high intercorrelation (0.70) between “partner’s support” and “trust in medical competence”, the subscales show low intercorrelations, indicating an adequate independence of the respective subscales. Regarding the external validity we found minor respective moderate correlations with the SOC scale.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that the CTDQ is a useful instrument to assess confidence and trust in delivery. With 4 clinically relevant dimensions, the CTDQ is now open for further studies in the field of labor.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-12-26
PMCID: PMC3484078  PMID: 22937919
Validation study; Delivery; Questionnaire; Trust; Confidence
14.  Development of Specific Aspects of Spirituality during a 6-Month Intensive Yoga Practice 
The majority of research on yoga focuses on its psychophysiological and therapeutic benefits, while the spiritual aspects are rarely addressed. Changes of specific aspects of spirituality were thus investigated among 160 individuals (91% women, mean age 40.9 ± 8.3 years; 57% Christians) starting a 2-year yoga teacher training. We used standardized questionnaires to measure aspects of spirituality (ASP), mindfulness (FMI—Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory), life satisfaction (BMLSS—Brief Multidimensional Life Satisfaction Scale), and positive mood (lightheartedness/relief). At the start of the course, scores of the respective ASP subscales for search for insight/wisdom, transcendence conviction, and conscious interactions/compassion were high, while those for religious orientation were low. Within the 6 month observation period, both conscious interactions/compassion (effect size, Cohen's d = .33), Religious orientation (d = .21), Lightheartedness/Relief (d = .75) and mindfulness (d = .53) increased significantly. Particularly non-religious/non-spiritual individuals showed moderate effects for an increase of conscious interactions/compassion. The results from this study suggest that an intensive yoga practice (1) may significantly increase specific aspects of practitioners' spirituality, mindfulness, and mood, (2) that these changes are dependent in part on their original spiritual/religious self-perception, and (3) that there are strong correlations amongst these constructs (i.e., conscious interactions/compassion, and mindfulness).
doi:10.1155/2012/981523
PMCID: PMC3407840  PMID: 22852023
15.  Usage and appraisal of educational media by homeopathic therapists – A cross sectional survey 
Background
During recent years the market for homeopathic education media has increasingly diversified with old (books, seminars) and new media (video-seminars, pc-programs, homeo-wiki and internet-courses). However, little is known about homeopaths’ preferences in using educational media and their requirements of this topic.
Aim
This survey was designed to gain a better understanding of the usage and appraisal of educational media by homeopaths.
Methods
192 homeopathic practitioners (GPs and health practitioners) at a educational conference were asked to answer a standardized questionnaire covering the topics “formal education and context of work” (9 items), “homeopathic practise and usage (24 items), “utilization of educational media” (9 items) and “favoured attributes for educational media” (11 items).
Results
Out of 192 homeopaths who attended the conference, 118 completed the questionnaire (response rate 61.5%). For their continuing homeopathic education they predominantly indicated to use books (scale value from 0 = never to 2 = always: 1.72) and seminars (1.54) whereas journals (0.98) and the internet (0.65) were used less often. The most favoured attributes concerning medical education media were reliability (1.76), relevance for clinical practice (1.74) and user friendliness (1.6). Less favoured attributes were inexpensiveness (1.1), graphical material (0.92) and interactivity (0.88).
Conclusions
The survey illustrates the current situation of medical education media in homeopathy. Although there are parallels to earlier research conducted in conventional GPs, homeopaths are more likely to refer to classical media. New education tools should be designed according to these preferences.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-95
PMCID: PMC3502324  PMID: 22794310
Educational media; Homeopathy; Primary care; Continuing medical education; Knowledge translation
16.  A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Efficacy, Cost-Effectiveness, and Safety of Selected Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Neck and Low-Back Pain 
Background. Back pain is a common problem and a major cause of disability and health care utilization. Purpose. To evaluate the efficacy, harms, and costs of the most common CAM treatments (acupuncture, massage, spinal manipulation, and mobilization) for neck/low-back pain. Data Sources. Records without language restriction from various databases up to February 2010. Data Extraction. The efficacy outcomes of interest were pain intensity and disability. Data Synthesis. Reports of 147 randomized trials and 5 nonrandomized studies were included. CAM treatments were more effective in reducing pain and disability compared to no treatment, physical therapy (exercise and/or electrotherapy) or usual care immediately or at short-term follow-up. Trials that applied sham-acupuncture tended towards statistically nonsignificant results. In several studies, acupuncture caused bleeding on the site of application, and manipulation and massage caused pain episodes of mild and transient nature. Conclusions. CAM treatments were significantly more efficacious than no treatment, placebo, physical therapy, or usual care in reducing pain immediately or at short-term after treatment. CAM therapies did not significantly reduce disability compared to sham. None of the CAM treatments was shown systematically as superior to one another. More efforts are needed to improve the conduct and reporting of studies of CAM treatments.
doi:10.1155/2012/953139
PMCID: PMC3236015  PMID: 22203884
17.  Prescribing patterns in dementia: a multicentre observational study in a German network of CAM physicians 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:99.
Background
Dementia is a major and increasing health problem worldwide. This study aims to investigate dementia treatment strategies among physicians specialised in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by analysing prescribing patterns and comparing them to current treatment guidelines in Germany.
Methods
Twenty-two primary care physicians in Germany participated in this prospective, multicentre observational study. Prescriptions and diagnoses were reported for each consecutive patient. Data were included if patients had at least one diagnosis of dementia according to the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases during the study period. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with a prescription of any anti-dementia drug including Ginkgo biloba.
Results
During the 5-year study period (2004-2008), 577 patients with dementia were included (median age: 81 years (IQR: 74-87); 69% female). Dementia was classified as unspecified dementia (57.2%), vascular dementia (25.1%), dementia in Alzheimer's disease (10.4%), and dementia in Parkinson's disease (7.3%). The prevalence of anti-dementia drugs was 25.6%. The phytopharmaceutical Ginkgo biloba was the most frequently prescribed anti-dementia drug overall (67.6% of all) followed by cholinesterase inhibitors (17.6%). The adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for receiving any anti-dementia drug was greater than 1 for neurologists (AOR = 2.34; CI: 1.59-3.47), the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AOR = 3.28; CI: 1.96-5.50), neuroleptic therapy (AOR = 1.87; CI: 1.22-2.88), co-morbidities hypertension (AOR = 2.03; CI: 1.41-2.90), and heart failure (AOR = 4.85; CI: 3.42-6.88). The chance for a prescription of any anti-dementia drug decreased with the diagnosis of vascular dementia (AOR = 0.64; CI: 0.43-0.95) and diabetes mellitus (AOR = 0.55; CI: 0.36-0.86). The prescription of Ginkgo biloba was associated with sex (female: AOR = 0.41; CI: 0.19-0.89), patient age (AOR = 1.06; CI: 1.02-1.10), treatment by a neurologist (AOR = 0.09; CI: 0.03-0.23), and the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AOR = 0.07; CI: 0.04-0.16).
Conclusions
This study provides a comprehensive analysis of everyday practice for treatment of dementia in primary care in physicians with a focus on CAM. The prescribing frequency for anti-dementia drugs is equivalent to those found in other German studies, while the administration of Ginkgo biloba is significantly higher.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-99
PMCID: PMC3178479  PMID: 21824429
18.  Quality of Life and Related Dimensions in Cancer Patients Treated with Mistletoe Extract (Iscador): A Meta-Analysis 
Objectives. The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the effectiveness of the fermented plant extract Iscador, produced from the white-berry European mistletoe, in the treatment of patients with cancer with respect to quality-of-life- (QoL-) associated measures. Methods. We searched databases such as PubMed/Medline, Excerpta Medica Database (EMBASE), CAMbase, and other for controlled clinical studies on parameters associated with QoL. Outcome data were extracted and converted into standardized mean differences and their standard errors. Results. Thirteen prospective and controlled studies which met the inclusion/exclusion criteria reported positive effects in favor of the Iscador application. A random-effect meta-analysis estimated the overall treatment effect at standardized mean difference = 0.56 (CI: 0.41 to 0.71, P < .0001). However, the methodological quality of the studies was poor. Conclusions. The analyzed studies give some evidence that Iscador treatment might have beneficial short-time effects on QoL-associated dimensions and psychosomatic self-regulation.
doi:10.1155/2012/219402
PMCID: PMC3124023  PMID: 21747894
19.  Fearful or functional - a cross-sectional survey of the concepts of childhood fever among German and Turkish mothers in Germany 
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:41.
Background
Fever is one of the most common presenting complaints in paediatrics and general practice. In the majority of cases nothing harmful is diagnosed. However, the subjective meaning of fever often varies between doctors and parents. Knowledge of the parents' concept of fever may help tailor counselling to their needs.
In this study we determine 1) the influence of socio-economic status and cultural background on two concepts of fever which we labelled "functional" and "fearful", each representing typical experiences of mothers, and 2) the actions taken by the mothers related to these concepts.
Methods
A standardized interview study was conducted among German and Turkish mothers in Germany in 2009. The questionnaire consisted of 36 questions and 205 items. Interviews were conducted in 16 private practices of paediatricians and 2 paediatric emergency departments in an urban region of Germany. The two fever concepts were represented in 6 statements that could be rated with a six-point Likert scale. The association of the socio-economic status and the cultural background with one of the fever concepts was determined by a multiple logistic regression.
Results
A total of 338 mothers (49% with a Turkish background) completed the interview (response rate 92%). The average age of mothers with a German background was higher (34.1 years vs. 32.0 years, p = 0.0001). Mothers with a Turkish background were more likely to relate to the concept "fearful" [adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.99; confidence interval (CI) 1.16-3.44]. Mothers with a middle or high socio-economic status were more likely to respond to the concept "functional" [middle: AOR, 0.53; CI, 0.30-0.92; high: AOR, 0.44; CI, 0.21-0.95].
Mothers adhering to the concept "fearful" more often gave acetaminophen before the recommended interval of 6 hours (46.8% vs. 31.3%, p = 0.005) and visited out-of-hours services more frequently in the preceding 9 months than the other group (0.7 vs. 0.4, p = 0.001).
Conclusions
A Turkish migrant background and a low socio-economic status are associated with the fever concept "fearful". Mothers with these attributes seem to require specific and reassuring counselling as they use antipyretic drugs extensively and out-of-hours services frequently.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-41
PMCID: PMC3118121  PMID: 21605413
20.  Home-based music therapy - a systematic overview of settings and conditions for an innovative service in healthcare 
Background
Almost every Western healthcare system is changing to make their services more centered around out-patient care. In particular, long-term or geriatric patients who have been discharged from the hospital often require home-based care and therapy. Therefore, several programs have been developed to continue the therapeutic process and manage the special needs of patients after discharge from hospital. Music therapy has also moved into this field of healthcare service by providing home-based music therapy (HBMT) programs. This article reviews and summarizes the settings and conditions of HBMT for the first time.
Methods
The following databases were used to find articles on home-based music therapy: AMED, CAIRSS, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsychINFO, and PSYNDEX. The search terms were "home-based music therapy" and "mobile music therapy". Included articles were analyzed with respect to participants as well as conditions and settings of HBMT. Furthermore, the date of publication, main outcomes, and the design and quality of the studies were investigated.
Results
A total of 20 international publications, 11 clinical studies and nine reports from practice, mainly from the United States (n = 8), were finally included in the qualitative synthesis. Six studies had a randomized controlled design and included a total of 507 patients. The vast majority of clients of HBMT are elderly patients living at home and people who need hospice and palliative care. Although settings were heterogeneous, music listening programs played a predominant role with the aim to reduce symptoms like depression and pain, or to improve quality of life and the relationship between patients and caregivers as primary endpoints.
Conclusions
We were able to show that HBMT is an innovative service for future healthcare delivery. It fits with the changing healthcare system and its conditions but also meets the therapeutic needs of the increasing number of elderly and severely impaired people. Apart from music therapists, patients and their families HBMT is also interesting as a blueprint for home based care for other groups of caregivers.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-291
PMCID: PMC2964696  PMID: 20946680
21.  Adaptive coping strategies in patients with chronic pain conditions and their interpretation of disease 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:507.
Background
We examined which adaptive coping strategies, referring to the concept of 'locus of disease control', were of relevance for patients with chronic pain conditions, and how they were interconnected with patients' life satisfaction and interpretation of disease.
Methods
In a multicenter cross-sectional anonymous survey with the AKU questionnaire, we enrolled 579 patients (mean age 54 ± 14 years) with various chronic pain conditions.
Results
Disease as an adverse interruption of life was the prevalent interpretation of chronic pain conditions. As a consequence, patients relied on external powerful sources to control their disease (i.e., Trust in Medical Help; Search for Information and Alternative Help), but also on internal powers and virtues (i.e., Conscious Way of Living; Positive Attitudes). In contrast, Trust in Divine Help as an external transcendent source and Reappraisal: Illness as Chance as an internal (cognitive) strategy were valued moderately. Regression analyses indicated that Positive Attitudes and higher age were significant predictors of patients' life satisfaction, but none of the other adaptive coping strategies. While the adaptive coping strategies were not associated with negative interpretations of disease, the cognitive reappraisal attitude was of significant relevance for positive interpretations such as value and challenge.
Conclusions
The experience of illness may enhance intensity and depth of life, and thus one may explain the association between internal adaptive coping strategies (particularly Reappraisal) and positive interpretations of disease. To restore a sense of self-control over pain (and thus congruence with the situation), and the conviction that one is not necessarily disabled by disease, is a major task in patient care. In the context of health services research, apart from effective pain management, a comprehensive approach is needed which enhances the psycho-spiritual well-being of patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-507
PMCID: PMC2936426  PMID: 20727191
22.  Pharmacotherapy of elderly patients in everyday anthroposophic medical practice: a prospective, multicenter observational study 
BMC Geriatrics  2010;10:48.
Background
Pharmacotherapy in the older adult is a complex field involving several different medical professionals. The evidence base for pharmacotherapy in elderly patients in primary care relies on only a few clinical trials, thus documentation must be improved, particularly in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) like phytotherapy, homoeopathy, and anthroposophic medicine. This study describes diagnoses and therapies observed in elderly patients treated with anthroposophic medicine in usual care.
Methods
Twenty-nine primary care physicians in Germany participated in this prospective, multicenter observational study on prescribing patterns. Prescriptions and diagnoses were reported for each consecutive patient. Data were included if patients were at least 60 years of age. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors associated with anthroposophic prescriptions.
Results
In 2005, a total of 12 314 prescriptions for 3076 patients (68.1% female) were included. The most frequent diagnoses were hypertension (11.1%), breast cancer (3.5%), and heart failure (3.0%). In total, 30.5% of the prescriptions were classified as CAM remedies alone, 54.4% as conventional pharmaceuticals alone, and 15.1% as a combination of both. CAM remedies accounted for 41.7% of all medications prescribed (35.5% anthroposophic). The adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for receiving an anthroposophic remedy was significantly higher for the first consultation (AOR = 1.65; CI: 1.52-1.79), treatment by an internist (AOR = 1.49; CI: 1.40-1.58), female patients (AOR = 1.35; CI: 1.27-1.43), cancer (AOR = 4.54; CI: 4.12-4.99), arthropathies (AOR = 1.36; CI: 1.19-1.55), or dorsopathies (AOR = 1.34; CI: 1.16-1.55) and it decreased with patient age (AOR = 0.97; CI: 0.97-0.98). The likelihood of being prescribed an anthroposophic remedy was especially low for patients with hypertensive diseases (AOR = 0.36; CI: 0.32-0.39), diabetes mellitus (AOR = 0.17; CI: 0.14-0.22), or metabolic disorders (AOR = 0.17; CI: 0.13-0.22).
Conclusion
The present study is the first to provide a systematic overview of everyday anthroposophic medical practice in primary care for elderly patients. Practitioners of anthroposophic medicine prescribe both conventional and complementary treatments. Our study may facilitate further CAM-research on indications of, for example, dementia or adverse drug reactions in the elderly.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-48
PMCID: PMC2916899  PMID: 20663129
23.  Effects of music therapy in the treatment of children with delayed speech development - results of a pilot study 
Background
Language development is one of the most significant processes of early childhood development. Children with delayed speech development are more at risk of acquiring other cognitive, social-emotional, and school-related problems. Music therapy appears to facilitate speech development in children, even within a short period of time. The aim of this pilot study is to explore the effects of music therapy in children with delayed speech development.
Methods
A total of 18 children aged 3.5 to 6 years with delayed speech development took part in this observational study in which music therapy and no treatment were compared to demonstrate effectiveness. Individual music therapy was provided on an outpatient basis. An ABAB reversal design with alternations between music therapy and no treatment with an interval of approximately eight weeks between the blocks was chosen. Before and after each study period, a speech development test, a non-verbal intelligence test for children, and music therapy assessment scales were used to evaluate the speech development of the children.
Results
Compared to the baseline, we found a positive development in the study group after receiving music therapy. Both phonological capacity and the children's understanding of speech increased under treatment, as well as their cognitive structures, action patterns, and level of intelligence. Throughout the study period, developmental age converged with their biological age. Ratings according to the Nordoff-Robbins scales showed clinically significant changes in the children, namely in the areas of client-therapist relationship and communication.
Conclusions
This study suggests that music therapy may have a measurable effect on the speech development of children through the treatment's interactions with fundamental aspects of speech development, including the ability to form and maintain relationships and prosodic abilities. Thus, music therapy may provide a basic and supportive therapy for children with delayed speech development. Further studies should be conducted to investigate the mechanisms of these interactions in greater depth.
Trial registration
The trial is registered in the German clinical trials register; Trial-No.: DRKS00000343
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-39
PMCID: PMC2921108  PMID: 20663139
24.  A pilot study on the effects of a team building process on the perception of work environment in an integrative hospital for neurological rehabilitation 
Background
Neurological rehabilitation is one of the most care-intensive challenges in the health care system requiring specialist therapeutic and nursing knowledge. In this descriptive pilot study, we investigated the effects of a team building process on perceived work environment, self-ascribed professional competence, life satisfaction, and client satisfaction in an anthroposophic specialized hospital for neurological rehabilitation. The team-building process consisted of didactic instruction and training in problem-solving, teambuilding and constructive conflict resolution.
Methods
Seventy seven staff members and 44 patients' relatives were asked to complete a survey that included the Work Environment Scale (WES-10), a Life Satisfaction Scale (BMLSS), the Conviction of Therapeutic Competency (CTC) scale and the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8). To evaluate the outcome of the team building process, we analyzed changes over time in the WES-10 subscales. Additionally the interrelationship between the WES-10 subscales with other subscales and with sociodemographic parameters like age, gender was calculated by means of a bivariate correlation analysis.
Results
The team building process had a significant positive effect on perceived work environment in only one area. There was a significant improvement in the ward staffs' perception of their ability to constructively resolve conflicts 3 years after inception of the team building process than there was before inception. However, even in a unit that utilized holistic treatment and nursing in the care of severely disable patients, such care necessitating a very heavy workload, the measurements on the Self Realization, Life Satisfaction and Conviction of Therapeutic Competency scales remained high and unchanged over the three year time period of the study.
Conclusions
Strategic interventions might be an option to improve interpersonal relationships and finally quality of patient care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-10
PMCID: PMC2841088  PMID: 20214789
25.  Knowledge transfer for the management of dementia: a cluster-randomised trial of blended learning in general practice 
Background
The implementation of new medical knowledge into general practice is a complex process. Blended learning may offer an effective and efficient educational intervention to reduce the knowledge-to-practice gap. The aim of this study was to compare knowledge acquisition about dementia management between a blended learning approach using online modules in addition to quality circles (QCs) and QCs alone.
Methods
In this cluster-randomised trial with QCs as clusters and general practitioners (GPs) as participants, 389 GPs from 26 QCs in the western part of Germany were invited to participate. Data on the GPs' knowledge were obtained at three points in time by means of a questionnaire survey. Primary outcome was the knowledge gain before and after the interventions. A subgroup analysis of the users of the online modules was performed.
Results
166 GPs were available for analysis and filled out a knowledge test at least two times. A significant increase of knowledge was found in both groups that indicated positive learning effects of both approaches. However, there was no significant difference between the groups. A subgroup analysis of the GPs who self-reported that they had actually used the online modules showed that they had a significant increase in their knowledge scores.
Conclusion
A blended learning approach was not superior to a QCs approach for improving knowledge about dementia management. However, a subgroup of GPs who were motivated to actually use the online modules had a gain in knowledge.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN36550981.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-1
PMCID: PMC2881109  PMID: 20047652

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