Age Disparities in Cancer Trial Patients

Two decades ago, the oncology community was alerted to age disparities in cooperative group studies by an analysis of National Cancer Institute (NCI) funded trials. Older cancer patients have long been underrepresented in clinical trials, despite the disease primarily affecting the aging population. Researchers had not only investigated the disparities in age, but they also noted lesser representation of racial and ethnic minorities, and women.

The latest analysis of oncologic treatment clinical trial cohort demographics reveals a concerning lack of improvement in diversified representation, especially of the aging population.  Today, the median age of trial participants is nearly 7 years younger than the median age of cancer patients and the age gap is worsening, according to new research published online in JAMA Oncology.

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Transdermal Estradiol for Treatment of Schizophrenia in Women

One of the top causes of disability across the globe, schizophrenia can significantly diminish educational, occupational and psychosocial performance, impairing the lives of millions of people worldwide. Although the severe chronic neurological disorder affects a small proportion of the population – around 1% – it is one of the most disabling conditions, especially if left untreated. Schizophrenia carries a substantial disease burden; people with the disorder face increased risks of premature mortality, suicide, and physical illness.

While research has yet to identify a definitive cause of schizophrenia, many factors are thought to contribute to the development of schizophrenia, including genetics, environment, and neurological changes. Previous research implicates that estrogen may play a significant role in the condition’s progression, with a prior randomized controlled trial revealing symptom improvement in premenopausal female patients treated with transdermal estradiol. These initial positive findings have not been replicated by other studies, including ones without commercial involvement.

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Alarming Rates of Life-Threatening Patient Nondisclosures

A patient’s full disclosure of medically relevant information to their clinician is essential to ensuring all-encompassing health support, developing successful treatment strategies and guaranteeing optimal outcomes. This is especially true in cases of imminent threat, which range from drug and substance abuse habits to domestic violence incidents. Previous research has revealed that patients often choose not to share details about certain behaviors, such as lack of exercise or poor diet, in fear of being judged or reprimanded. However, relatively little knowledge was available thus far about the disclosure rates for life-threatening factors.

While it is essential for primary care providers to be aware of all details affecting patient health, a recent study indicates that nearly half of patients withhold potentially life-threatening information from their physicians. Aiming to determine the prevalence of patient nondisclosure about imminent threats and identify the common underlying reasons, researchers evaluated data from 4,510 Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) and Survey Sampling International (SSI) survey respondents.

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