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Thread: Welcome to the Special Studies & Reports Subforum!

  1. #1

    Welcome to the Special Studies & Reports Subforum!

    About Research Studies

    Hi All,

    Since most folks don't have a biology background, I'll give great weight to accessibility/easy of comprehension in selecting recent studies to bring to the Subforum. If you are doing research for a new diagnosis of PC and have little or no experience with journal papers: relax -- don't panic You do not have to understand everything to benefit from a study. If the paper is very important to you, come back and read it several times. The more reading you do, both of Forum posts and journal papers, the more you will understand. You will find here papers ranging from the general to the very specific. As you narrow down your choices, come back and read some more on those topics. Think of the studies as a smorgasbord to pick and choose from. You aren't trying to educate yourself from soup to nuts. Also, many studies would fit into more than one topic-thread. With a few exceptions, I won't duplicate it, but rather put it in the thread I think most appropriate.

    When available, I'll link the Full Text of the paper, but often only the Abstract is free. If you are interested reading or printing a pay-only full text, many have a one-time rental fee of a couple of dollars, so you don't have to have a jounal subscription, buy the individual paper, or go to a (medical) library. In many cases readers will be interested in the "bottom line"--the Conclusion of the paper, so the abstract may suffice. Some journals now have a Patient Summary section below the Conclusions. This is a statement about the study's relevance to practical decision-making. Many institutions have journal subscriptions so you or someone you know may have access to the full text at their workplace.

    There are a few types of journal paper:

    A journal study is aimed at testing a hypothesis, such as Is Treatment A better than Treatment B? There are two main types.

    • A retrospective study looks back at published studies and uses statistics to draw conclusions. It may look at hundreds or even thousands of individuals across many studies and across time. It tries to compare apples to apples, but that's not always possible. So it might have to settle for lumping Granny Smith and Macintosh together.
    • A prospective study reports the results of setting up two or more groups of patients and testing, for example, the effects of Treatment A vs. a placebo, or Treatment A vs. Treatment B. It is considered a better test of the hypothesis than a retrospective study, because the two (or more) starting groups are as evenly matched as possible and differ only by the treatment groups under study, which are usually assigned randomly. However, it usually has a much small number of subjects; another study might come along and contradict, rather than confirm, those results. Reviewers and other researches might find flaws in the way a study was designed or conducted, or challenge the authors' conclusions. The moral is not to take any one prospective study as gospel.

    A (systematic) review paper examines a topic, often broad, and tries to look at all published studies and data, select the better ones, assess their relative merits, and draw some conclusions. A paper that looks at published reviews is, in turn, a meta-review or meta-analysis. Review papers are an excellent way to begin researching a topic: the authors have done the searching for you, selected the better studies, drawn conclusions, and sometimes make recommendations. The word "Review" or "Systematic Review" usually appears in the title of these papers.

    A (research) letter or communication (not to be confused with a letter to the editor) is a summary of current research findings that is fast-tracked for publication by the editors, who consider it important.

    A poster is an abstract, often with figures and peer-reviewed, printed in a large size and displayed at a poster session of a conference. It is usually published afterward in a journal.

    A letter to the editor, entitled "re:..." or "Reply to:..." plus the title/author of a paper, is comments by another researcher(s) about a recent publication that may raise caveats or reservations of some kind.

    An editorial or article is usually by a single author or a journal board, the first often expressing an opinion about a topic or study. Sometimes an editorial comments on a paper(s) in the same journal issue.

    An essay is usually written by an expert in the field, often drawing on many years of experience.

    A case study reports and discusses an actual patient of particular interest, often highlighting several diagnostic and treatment issues.

    You will often see references to Phases in the titles of prospective clinical trials. In a nutshell, a Phase I trial tests whether a treatment, procedure, or test is safe for humans; Phase II tests if it is effective; Phase III tests how it compares to a current, more established one; and Phase IV monitors already FDA-approved drugs for efficacy, long-term safety, and new clinical use. For patients looking for a clinical trial, often the greater the number of standard treatments that have failed or ceased to work, the more risk you are probably willing to take. Phase I studies have the greatest risk, since they are often experimenting to find the largest safe dose, and the dose in the cohort you are randomized to may be smaller or larger than optimal; also, the treatment may prove ineffectual and/or the side effects may be unknown or severe. Trials may give you access to a new treatment or procedure that is not otherwise available. If you are looking for a trial, ask your docs and search at https://clinicaltrials.gov/

    When you see that a conclusion or statement is labelled statistically significant it means that the likelihood that the results were due simply to chance (the P Value) is less than 5% (P < 0.05), an arbitrary threshold adopted after it was proposed by R.A. Fisher in the 1930s. Research papers are full of P values. To learn more about them and their history and meaning, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4111019/

    You may come across mention of the level of evidence for a claim or recommendation. This is a way of evaluating and classifying the strength of the evidence (i.e. not all studies are of equal importance). You can read more about these levels here: https://www.elsevier.com/__data/prom...f_Evidence.pdf

    In addition to the terms in vivo (conducted in a living organism) and in vitro (conducted outside living organisms, e.g. in a culture dish), we now have the additional term in silico (performed via computer).

    Alongside the names of the authors of an article or study you will find a link or icon that displays their academic affiliations. Disclosures about other affiliations (e.g. with the sponsor of the study) and financial arrangements are usually at the end of the paper.

    Studies make liberal use acronyms and initializations to save space. These are always defined or written out in full the first time they are used, usually near the top of the paper, or even in its title.

    Not all journals are peer-reviewed. Here is a good resource on this topic: https://guides.library.utoronto.ca/peer-review

    Regarding the year of publication, be aware that several months can separate the online publication of a paper and its appearance in the print version of the journal. This can mean that the year of publication differs.

    A title in all caps in the Table of Contents does not reflect any emphasis on my part; it is simply how it appeared on the page I copied from. A title in bold is a reference of some importance/usefulness.

    I encourage you to also do your own free searches at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
    Registering an account there is simple and free--thereafter login is automatic.
    Another very good search resource is https://scholar.google.com/. In addition to the "hits" your searches return, use the References section of those papers to point you to other studies.

    Post comments to specific studies right in their thread. Post general comments in this Welcome thread. Feel free to send me a PM with thoughts, suggestions, and corrections, as well as studies you'd like me to add.

    I'll flag new additions in red in the Tables of Contents.

    If you are doing a lot of reading here, you can keep the Table of Contents open in one browser tab, and use another tab to locate and read the studies of interest (instead of jumping back and forth in one tab).

    A suggestion for your first time in a Topic: go through all the paper titles and jot down the numbers of those of interest, adding a check mark for those that look especially promising. Then you can look at the checked studies first and come back to the others after. You'll have your list ready for your next session.

    If you are looking for a clinical trial, go to https://clinicaltrials.gov. All US trials are registered there. See also my post Anatomy of a Clinical Trial.

    A special thanks to Forum Brother Michael F. for his input on Subforum setup!

    Last edited by DjinTonic; 05-25-2019 at 02:57 PM.

  2. #2
    What's New?

    Feel free to PM me with a link to a study you would like to add to the SubForum. I'll add it with the a reference # and also add it to the Table of Contents.

    Comments are welcome, too. Be sure to include the # and Title of the study in your post. Post your comments to the thread with the study; post general comments here in this thread. Please notify me by PM if you find a broken link.

    If you read research papers on the search for preventative and curative foods, supplements, and drugs, you will likely come across the word apoptosis, which means programmed cell death. We want to induce this in cancer cells so they die off as healthy cells do, rather than living on like toxic zombies, playing havoc and proliferating. One problem is that foods and supplements that induce apoptosis in vitro--in direct contact with cancer cells in the lab--don't always demonstrate similar behavior in us humans. This is sometimes because of poor bioavailabilty: the amount of substance actually reaching the cancer cells in our bodies isn't enough to produce the beneficial effect seen in the lab.

    Another issue highlighted by genomics and genetic studies is that some substances might be beneficial for some, but not all, of us. For example, one pomegranate study, Thread (S) #4, may demonstrate this: overall there was no significant beneficial effect; however, there was a statistically significant beneficial effect in the 25% of men with a certain genotype. Food for thought!

    Last edited by DjinTonic; 05-30-2019 at 08:49 PM.
    69 yr at Dx, BPH x 20 yr, 9 (!) neg. biopsies, PCA3 -
    2013 TURP (90→30 g) path. neg. for cancer; then 6-mo. checkups
    6-06-17 DRE: nodule R and PSA rise, on finasteride: 3.6→4.3
    6-28-17 Biopsy #10: 2/14 cores: G10 (5+5) 50% RB, G9 (4+5) 5% RLM
    Bone scan, CTs, X-rays: negative
    8-7-17 Open RP, neg. frozen sections, Duke Regional
    SM EPE BNI LVI SVI LNI(16): negative, PNI+, nerves spared
    pT2c pN0 bilat. acinar adenocarcinoma G9 (4+5) 5% of prostate (4.5 x 5 x 4 cm, 64 g)
    11-10-17 Decipher 0.37 Low Risk: 5-yr met risk 2.4%; 10-yr PCa-specific mortality 3.3%
    Dry; ED OK with sildenafil
    9-16-17 (5 weeks) PSA <0.1
    LabCorp uPSA (Roche ECLIA):
    11-28-17 (3 mo. ) 0.010
    02-26-18 (6 mo. ) 0.009
    05-30-18 (9 mo. ) 0.007
    08-27-18 (1 year) 0.018
    09-26-18 (13 mo) 0.013 (checking rise)
    11-26-18 (15 mo) 0.012
    02-25-19 (18 mo) 0.015
    05-22-19 (21 mo) 0.015


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