[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Updates on the Thai clinical vaccine trial, the discovery of additional neutralizing antibodies, and several new, nonhuman primate vaccine studies were presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections this year. Interestingly, the vaccine effect observed in the Thai trial diminished with time and was most effective in individuals who reported low-risk behavior. Two new neutralizing monoclonal antibodies were reported that were more potent and broadly reactive than the previously described monoclonal antibodies, giving the neutralization field an important boost. New studies were presented in macaques showing that a DNA prime modified vaccinia virus Ankara boost regimen can reduce acquisition of infection after a low-dose mucosal challenge with a heterologous pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) strain. Data suggesting that attenuated SIV vaccines can induce cellular immune responses that control viral replication were also discussed. Finally, and perhaps most encouragingly, vaccination with cytomegalovirus-expressing SIV antigens provided robust levels of protection against the highly pathogenic SIVmac239 viral isolate. All of these promising results should serve to energize the HIV vaccine field.
Topics in HIV medicine: a publication of the International AIDS Society, USA 01/2011; 18(2):35-6.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Non-adherence to medications is prevalent across all medical conditions that include ambulatory pharmacotherapy and is thus a major barrier to achieving the benefits of otherwise effective medicines.
The objective of this systematic review was to identify and to compare the efficacy of strategies and components thereof that improve implementation of the prescribed drug dosing regimen and maintain long-term persistence, based on quantitative evaluation of effect sizes across the aggregated trials.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, and PsycINFO were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials that tested the efficacy of adherence-enhancing strategies with self-administered medications. The searches were limited to papers in the English language and were included from database inception to 31 December 2011.
Our review included randomized controlled trials in which adherence was assessed by electronically compiled drug dosing histories. Five thousand four hundred studies were screened. Eligibility assessment was performed independently by two reviewers. A structured data collection sheet was developed to extract data from each study.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods
The adherence-enhancing components were classified in eight categories. Quality of the papers was assessed using the criteria of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions guidelines to assess potential bias. A combined adherence outcome was derived from the different adherence variables available in the studies by extracting from each paper the available adherence summary variables in a pre-defined order (correct dosing, taking adherence, timing adherence, percentage of adherent patients). To study the association between the adherence-enhancing components and their effect on adherence, a linear meta-regression model, based on mean adherence point estimates, and a meta-analysis were conducted.
Seventy-nine clinical trials published between 1995 and December 2011 were included in the review. Patients randomized to an intervention group had an average combined adherence outcome of 74.3 %, which was 14.1 % higher than in patients randomized to the control group (60.2 %). The linear meta-regression analysis with stepwise variable selection estimated an 8.8 % increase in adherence when the intervention included feedback to the patients of their recent dosing history (EM-feedback) (p < 0.01) and a 5.0 % increase in adherence when the intervention included a cognitive-educational component (p = 0.02). In addition, the effect of interventions on adherence decreased by 1.1 % each month. Sensitivity analysis by selecting only high-quality papers confirmed the robustness of the model. The random effects model in the meta-analysis, conducted on 48 studies, confirmed the above findings and showed that the improvement in adherence was 19.8 % (95 % CI 10.7–28.9 %) among patients receiving EM-feedback, almost double the improvement in adherence for studies that did not include this type of feedback [10.3 % (95 % CI 7.5–13.1 %)] (p < 0.01). The improvement in adherence was 16.1 % (95 % CI 10.7–21.6 %) in studies that tested cognitive-educational components versus 10.1 % (95 % CI 6.6–13.6 %) in studies that did not include this type of intervention (p = 0.04). Among 57 studies measuring clinical outcomes, only 8 reported a significant improvement in clinical outcome.
Despite a common measurement, the meta-analysis was limited by the heterogeneity of the pooled data and the different measures of medication adherence. The funnel plot showed a possible publication bias in studies with high variability of the intervention effect.
Notwithstanding the statistical heterogeneity among the studies identified, and potential publication bias, the evidence from our meta-analysis suggests that EM-feedback and cognitive-educational interventions are potentially effective approaches to enhance patient adherence to medications. The limitations of this research highlight the urgent need to define guidelines and study characteristics for research protocols that can guide researchers in designing studies to assess the effects of adherence-enhancing interventions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The latest generation of smartphones are increasingly viewed as handheld computers rather than as phones, due to their powerful on-board computing capability, capacious memories, large screens and open operating systems that encourage application development. This paper provides a brief state-of-the-art overview of health and healthcare smartphone apps (applications) on the market today, including emerging trends and market uptake. Platforms available today include Android, Apple iOS, RIM BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows (Windows Mobile 6.x and the emerging Windows Phone 7 platform). The paper covers apps targeting both laypersons/patients and healthcare professionals in various scenarios, e.g., health, fitness and lifestyle education and management apps; ambient assisted living apps; continuing professional education tools; and apps for public health surveillance. Among the surveyed apps are those assisting in chronic disease management, whether as standalone apps or part of a BAN (Body Area Network) and remote server configuration. We describe in detail the development of a smartphone app within eCAALYX (Enhanced Complete Ambient Assisted Living Experiment, 2009-2012), an EU-funded project for older people with multiple chronic conditions. The eCAALYX Android smartphone app receives input from a BAN (a patient-wearable smart garment with wireless health sensors) and the GPS (Global Positioning System) location sensor in the smartphone, and communicates over the Internet with a remote server accessible by healthcare professionals who are in charge of the remote monitoring and management of the older patient with multiple chronic conditions. Finally, we briefly discuss barriers to adoption of health and healthcare smartphone apps (e.g., cost, network bandwidth and battery power efficiency, usability, privacy issues, etc.), as well as some workarounds to mitigate those barriers.
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