Monday, August 17, 2009

Researcher Develops Better Way to Measure Chronic Pain, Fatigue, Depression

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A researcher at Northwestern University is trying to quantify the way we measure pain and other hard to pin down conditions. David Cella and his research team have developed a system that uses a specific scientific vocabulary to measure a patient's pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and social and physical functioning and provides a standardized rating as to each item.

Too Many Ways to Say "It Hurts"

Cella says these standardized measures will give doctors and patients a common language that will help individuals get better treatment by ensuring their doctors understand how debilitated they are, but will also improve research.

Not only have Cella and his team created a new language and tool for researchers, but the PROMIS project also represents a shift in the way researchers evaluate the benefits of treatments. The goal is not just to help people live longer but also live better.

X-rays, CT scans and lab tests may have minimal relevance to the day-to-day functioning of patients with chronic diseases. "We help measure directly if people are living better by asking them,“ Cella said. “Sometimes it's as simple as asking, 'Do you think this treatment has made your life better?' That question is surprisingly absent from many studies."

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.