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Perhaps you’ve reported your own blood pressure measurements or blood sugar to your physician. So called patient reported data that is monitored by a nurse helped make cancer treatment just a little bit smoother and easier, a new study finds. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins explains.

Nelson: It was more than 1000 adult patients in the middle of treatment. The intervention group got weekly surveys for up to a year or until they were finished their treatment. This remote monitoring was clearly associated with improvement in quality of life and physical function, improvement in symptom control, and improvement in health related quality of life. This is a little bit complicated when it's going to get to the deployment. In the community they found that only about a little bit less than two-thirds of the weekly surveys were completed. The adherence to the program declined.  :32

Nelson says some combination of system-based monitoring along with self reports may turn out to be best. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Community health workers were able to improve many aspects of cancer treatment for patients, a new study has shown. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says benefits were multiple.

Nelson: It was 128 folks with cancer followed. They were randomized for usual care versus a six month intervention that was community health led. They saw a lower chance to need acute care, there was eight times more likely to have completed their advanced care planning, four times more likely to use formal palliative care, and twice as likely to engage in hospice care. Their mental and emotional health was somewhat better. Their ability to live their lives and not need to ping in and off the acute part of the health system was really the result.  :34

Nelson predicts that more hospitals and cancer treatment centers will employ community health workers to assist their patients as they undergo cancer treatment. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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People being treated for cancer with immune checkpoint inhibitors who also took acetaminophen, or Tylenol, had worse outcomes for their cancer treatment than those who did not, a recent study found. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson says there has been a hint of this relationship before, and it may have to do with fever.

Nelson: This is actually interesting and one hint that people have actually wondered about is is the presence of fever itself beneficial in response. One of the stereotypical events is as the immune system is muscling up you get a fever and there’s many things that change at that higher body temperature that aid the immune system in working better, so there’s always been a concern that if you ablate that fever response are you innately slowing down the immune system?  :28

Nelson says although this finding needs confirmation, limiting use of medications to reduce fever may be a good choice much of the time while cancer treatment is underway. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, is taken by many to relieve fever and for aches and pains. Now a new study seems to associate use of the drug with less beneficial outcomes in people being treated for cancer. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, examines the findings.

Nelson: These were people who’d been treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. For many of the patients if they had taken acetaminophen it did look like there was a worse outcome. In the two patient sets that they looked at one group did a little bit worse, the other didn’t do so much worse. They tried to chase after this by taking four healthy volunteers. They gave them a gram of acetaminophen every six hours. That would be like two extra strength Tylenol tablets. What they saw when they drew their blood and looked at the immune subsets is an increase in what are called regulatory T cells.  :33

Nelson says this study needs to be confirmed in larger and longer trials to see if the association holds up. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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A type of cancer drug known as an immune checkpoint inhibitor has produced dramatic improvements for some people with cancer. Now a new study shows they may also be linked to deaths from heart complications. Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson describes the study.

Nelson: A total group of about 672 folks with cancer that had been treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. One point nine percent of them had died as a result of a cardiovascular event, acute coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke. Like other cancer treatments for which we’re concerned about increased cardiovascular risk before you get started you get a cardiovascular history. You get that and you’re aware of it; there isn’t at the moment a prescription of what you might do to avoid these things.  :31

Nelson says heart assessments both before and during treatment should be expected. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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In this podcast, Maddie Whalen, Evidence-based Practice Coordinator for the Center for Nursing Inquiry, interviews Johns Hopkins Health System nurses Arron Berry, Michelle Cook, and Rowena Milburn, as they discuss their tips and tricks for nurses new to the publishing process.

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Rates of mental health problems have reached epidemic levels during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now a new study shows that for some, use of an app rather than in person therapy provided nearly the same improvement. Eric Strain, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins, says this is a very practical approach.

Strain: At that outpatient care level we need to be thinking about electronically delivered services and there’s a lot of those out there now that are FDA cleared apps. We need to think about that as the very base of the triangle because if people can get services out of those rather than needing to go into outpatient care with a provider, then let’s use those services, those apps. It’s been shown to be effective, it makes a lot of sense, I think that they could start out with something like that to see if it could help them  :30

Strain says it might be worth talking with a primary care physician to get started and perhaps trying more than one app to find a good fit for you. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.