News in brief: Medicinal cannabis study looking for rheumatology patients; Room for improvement on gender disparity in rheumatology research; Shoe-stiffening inserts better than nothing in foot OA;

Wednesday, 24 Feb 2021

Medicinal cannabis study looking for rheumatology patients 

A unique Australian trial that looks at the changes in quality-of-life outcomes for patients prescribed medicinal cannabis is recruiting people living with arthritis.

The QUality of life Evaluation STudy (QUEST), which is endorsed by a range of national bodies including Arthritis Australia, is aiming to recruit at least 2,100 patients with a broad range of chronic conditions by June this year.

It will assess changes in patient conditions and symptoms using self-reported quality-of-life outcomes. Information on patient mobility, functionality, pain or discomfort, anxiety and depression, medication requirements and ongoing health costs will also be analysed.

“Medicinal cannabis has been studied in a broad range of chronic conditions and diseases but quality-of-life studies are limited. The QUEST study is unique in its approach, emphasising both health economic and quality of life measures, rather than effectiveness for a specific symptom or condition,” principle investigator Associate Professor Claudine Rutherford from the University of Sydney said.

Still room for improvement on gender disparity in rheumatology research 

The proportion of women among authors of rheumatology articles has increased but there is still a gap between the proportion of women among first and senior authors.

The analysis of research papers published in major rheumatology journals between 2002 and 2019 identified a significant rise in the percentage of women authors over time from 30.9% in 2002 to 41.2% in 2018, with a slight decline to 39.8% in 2019.

However, there were significantly fewer women who were listed as senior authors compared to the first author positions (24.3% in senior position vs. 40.9% as first author), the researchers reported in Rheumatology.

Shoe-stiffening inserts might be better than nothing for foot OA

Carbon-fibre shoe-stiffening inserts are more effective at reducing foot pain in people with metatarsophalangeal joint osteoarthritis than sham inserts, Australian researchers report.

The sham controlled blinded trial randomised 100 people to receive either carbon fibre shoe-stiffening or sham inserts. Both groups demonstrated improvements in the primary outcome of FHSQ pain domain score at each follow-up period, and there was a significant between-group difference in favour of the shoe-stiffening insert group.

The number needed to treat indicated that for every four participants treated with the inserts, one would achieve a successful treatment outcome, the researchers from La Trobe University reported in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

“These results support the use of shoe-stiffening inserts for the management of this condition, although due to the uncertainty around the effect on the primary outcome, some individuals may not experience a clinically worthwhile improvement,” they added.

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