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Dynamic reflexivity is central to enabling flexible and emergent qualitatively driven inductive mixed-method and multiple methods research designs. Yet too often, such reflexivity, and how it is used at various points of a study, is absent when we write our research reports. Instead, reports of mixed-method and multiple methods research focus on what was done rather than how it came to be done. This article seeks to redress this absence of emphasis on the reflexive thinking underpinning the way that mixed- and multiple methods, qualitatively driven research approaches are thought about and subsequently used throughout a project. Using Morse's notion of an armchair walkthrough, we excavate and explore the layers of decisions we made about how, and why, to use qualitatively driven mixed-method and multiple methods research in a study of mindfulness training (MT) in schoolchildren.
© The Author(s) 2015.
Quantitative imaging (QI) is increasingly applied in modern radiology practice, assisting in the clinical assessment of many patients and providing a source of biomarkers for a spectrum of diseases. QI is commonly used to inform patient diagnosis or prognosis, determine the choice of therapy, or monitor therapy response. Because most radiologists will likely implement some QI tools to meet the patient care needs of their referring clinicians, it is important for all radiologists to become familiar with the strengths and limitations of QI. The Association of University Radiologists Radiology Research Alliance Quantitative Imaging Task Force has explored the clinical application of QI and summarizes its work in this review. We provide an overview of the clinical use of QI by discussing QI tools that are currently used in clinical practice, clinical applications of these tools, approaches to reporting of QI, and challenges to implementing QI. It is hoped that these insights will help radiologists recognize the tangible benefits of QI to their patients, their referring clinicians, and their own radiology practice.
Copyright © 2015 AUR. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Metformin, an inexpensive oral agent commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, has been garnering increasing attention as a potential anti-cancer agent. Preclinical, epidemiologic, and clinical evidences suggest that metformin may reduce overall cancer risk and mortality, with specific effects in breast cancer. The extensive clinical experience with metformin, coupled with its known (and modest) toxicity, has allowed the traditional process of drug evaluation to be shortened. We review the rationale for a modified approach to evaluation and outline the key steps that will optimize development of this agent in breast cancer, including discussion of a Phase III adjuvant trial (NCIC MA.32) that has recently been initiated.
The history of community psychology in Italy is briefly reviewed. The field has developed extensively in universities and applied settings over the past 30 years. This issue presents 5 recent examples from different regions of Italy of preventive and other community psychological intervention studies. They include an evaluation of a program to increase the independent mobility of children walking to and from school, the ecological evaluation of child and adolescent residential care communities, participatory action-research with adolescents in schools and neighborhoods, evaluation of a participatory local health intervention planning process, and the description and evaluation of a collaborative, Internet-based community planning training program.
OBJECTIVES - Several studies have identified airflow obstruction as a risk factor for lung cancer independent of smoking history, but the risk associated with the presence of radiographic evidence of emphysema has not been extensively studied. We proposed to assess this risk using a quantitative volumetric CT scan analysis.
METHODS - Sixty-four cases of lung cancer were identified from a prospective cohort of 1,520 participants enrolled in a spiral CT scan lung cancer screening trial. Each case was matched to six control subjects for age, sex, and smoking history. Quantitative CT scan analysis of emphysema was performed. Spirometric measures were also conducted. Data were analyzed using conditional logistic regression making use of the 1:6 set groups of 64 cases and 377 matched control subjects.
RESULTS - Decreased FEV(1) and FEV(1)/FVC were significantly associated with a diagnosis of lung cancer with ORs of 1.15 (95% CI, 1.00-1.32; P = .046) and 1.29 (95% CI, 1.02-1.62; P = .031), respectively. The quantity of radiographic evidence of emphysema was not found to be a significant risk for lung cancer with OR of 1.042 (95% CI, 0.816-1.329; P = .743). Additionally, there was no significant association between severe emphysema and lung cancer with OR of 1.57 (95% CI, 0.73-3.37).
CONCLUSIONS - We confirm previous observations that airflow obstruction is an independent risk factor for lung cancer. The absence of a clear relationship between radiographic evidence of emphysema and lung cancer using an automated quantitative volumetric analysis may result from different population characteristics than those of prior studies, radiographic evidence of emphysema quantitation methodology, or absence of any relationship between emphysema and lung cancer risk.
There is increasing interest in utilizing novel markers of cardiovascular disease risk, and consequently, there is a need to assess the value of their use. This scientific statement reviews current concepts of risk evaluation and proposes standards for the critical appraisal of risk assessment methods. An adequate evaluation of a novel risk marker requires a sound research design, a representative at-risk population, and an adequate number of outcome events. Studies of a novel marker should report the degree to which it adds to the prognostic information provided by standard risk markers. No single statistical measure provides all the information needed to assess a novel marker, so measures of both discrimination and accuracy should be reported. The clinical value of a marker should be assessed by its effect on patient management and outcomes. In general, a novel risk marker should be evaluated in several phases, including initial proof of concept, prospective validation in independent populations, documentation of incremental information when added to standard risk markers, assessment of effects on patient management and outcomes, and ultimately, cost-effectiveness.
BACKGROUND - Sample collection site may affect the dynamics of intraoperative parathyroid hormone monitoring (IPM) and influence surgical decisions.
METHODS - We prospectively studied 45 patients undergoing parathyroidectomy for primary hyperparathyroidism. The IPM cure criterion was a decrease in peripheral vein (PV) parathyroid hormone (PTH) of >50% at 10 minutes after gland excision. PTH samples were collected simultaneously from PV and central vein (CV) and compared for PTH decay, the incidence of >50% PTH decay, and the incidence of normal PTH values after gland excision.
RESULTS - Mean PTH levels were significantly higher from the CV before and after gland excision. Mean PTH decay 10 minutes after gland excision was 89% PV versus 88% CV, resulting in mean PTH levels of 27 +/- 23 and 39 +/- 35 pg/mL, respectively (P < .0001). At 5 minutes, >50% decay in PTH was present in 98% PV versus 88% CV samples. By 10 minutes, the incidence of >50% PTH decay was equivalent (98%). This yielded normal range PTH levels from the PV versus CV in 90% versus 76% of patients at 5 minutes, 96% versus 89% at 10 minutes, and 95% versus 81% at 20 minutes. Of 45 patients, 44 (98%) are normocalcemic at a mean follow-up of 6.3 months. IPM predicted the single operative failure.
CONCLUSIONS - CV sampling produces significantly higher PTH levels. Surgeons sampling from a PV may observe a >50% decrease in PTH and normal range PTH values starting 5 minutes after gland excision. Surgeons who sample from the CV and require normalization of PTH levels may have to wait longer and/or continue potentially unnecessary neck exploration.
OBJECTIVE - Evaluations of individual terminology systems should be driven in part by the intended usages of such systems. Clinical interface terminologies support interactions between healthcare providers and computer-based applications. They aid practitioners in converting clinical "free text" thoughts into the structured, formal data representations used internally by application programs. Interface terminologies also serve the important role of presenting existing stored, encoded data to end users in human-understandable and actionable formats. The authors present a model for evaluating functional utility of interface terminologies based on these intended uses.
DESIGN - Specific parameters defined in the manuscript comprise the metrics for the evaluation model.
MEASUREMENTS - Parameters include concept accuracy, term expressivity, degree of semantic consistency for term construction and selection, adequacy of assertional knowledge supporting concepts, degree of complexity of pre-coordinated concepts, and the "human readability" of the terminology. The fundamental metric is how well the interface terminology performs in supporting correct, complete, and efficient data encoding or review by humans.
RESULTS - Authors provide examples demonstrating performance of the proposed evaluation model in selected instances.
CONCLUSION - A formal evaluation model will permit investigators to evaluate interface terminologies using a consistent and principled approach. Terminology developers and evaluators can apply the proposed model to identify areas for improving interface terminologies.