Music Eases Cancer Pain


Music Eases Cancer Pain

musical notes

Listening to just thirty minutes of music significantly reduced pain and distress for cancer patients.

The patients were receiving medication, but still had pain.

Music reduced pain scores by more than 50 percent for almost half of them compared to fewer than 1 in 10 similar patients who just rested in bed.

Nurses randomly assigned Taiwanese patients to listen to their choice of music for 30 minutes or to rest without music.  They measured pain at the beginning and end of the time using a visual scale.

42 percent who listened to music had their pain scores fall by 50 percent or more, compared to 8 percent of those who merely rested.  A statistical test showed a large effect of the music for both changes in the sensation of pain and changes in the distress patients felt.

Patient had their choice of folk songs, Buddhist hymns , or American harp and piano music.  Although 7 out of 10 chose the Taiwanese music, the American music was also enjoyed and effective.

Writing in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, lead author Shih-Tzu Huang said,

Offering a choice of familiar, culturally appropriate music was a key element of the intervention.  Soft music was safe, effective, and liked by participants. It provided greater relief of cancer pain than analgesics alone. Thus nurses should offer calming, familiar music to supplement analgesic medication for persons with cancer pain.

SOURCEHuang et al, International Journal of Nursing Studies, Volume 47, Number 11, November 2010.

What This Means for Patients

Sometimes the simple things that we do intuitively prove to be effective scientifically.

In this study music was not offered instead of medication, but in addition to it.

Patients also got to choose the music that they liked from culturally appropriate choices.

This simple method may help cancer patients both in the hospital and at home.

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Posted by Kate Murphy on September 28th, 2010
Tags: cancer pain, complementary therapy

“RADICAL” by David Platt book review by @brucefrank1

I recently read the book Radical by David Platt.  I can honestly say it challenged me as much as any book (other than the Bible) has in recent memory.  The book is subtitled “taking back your faith from the American dream”, and Platt challenges you to consider how culture has tamed how radical the call to be a Christ follower really is. It is strong medicine but is delivered with both a humble and bold attitude.  I have spent a little time with David and find that to be a good reflection of who he is.  Some of the points that stuck out (or into) me were:

  • “Plainly put, a relationship with Jesus requires total, superior, and exclusive devotion.” (see Luke 9:57-62)
  • “We are giving in to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist him into a version of Jesus we are more comfortable with. A nice, middle class, American Jesus.”
  • “We have been told all that is required is a one-time decision, maybe even mere intellectual assent to Jesus, but after that we need not worry about His commands, His standards, or His glory…but the gospel demands and enables us to turn from our sin, to take up our cross, to die to ourselves, and to follow Jesus.”
  • “This is the design of God among His people.  He is giving unlikely people His power so it is clear who deserves the glory for the success that takes place.”
  • “Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell.” (see Romans 1:14-16)
  • God blesses us so we can bless others and glorify His great name.  (see Psalm 23:3; Psalm 67; Isaiah 43:1-13)
  • “Anyone wanting to proclaim the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth must consider not only how to declare the gospel verbally but also how to demonstrate the gospel visibly in a world where so many are urgently hungry” (note: 26,000 children die each day due to starvation or a preventable disease).
  • “Why not begin operating under the idea that God has given us excess, not so we could have more, but so we could give more?”
  • “To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus…as long as Christianity looks like the American dream, we will have few problems in this world.”
  • “Things look radically different on a luxury liner than they do on a troop carrier.  The faces of soldiers preparing for battle and those of patrons enjoying their bonbons are radically different.”
  • “Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God.”

As you can hopefully tell, I think Radical is an excellent book written by one of God’s best.  It challenges the believer to live in a Biblical lifestyle that brings much honor to Jesus.  I do feel a couple of words of caution are warranted:

1.  An immature Christian could become very legalistic with some of the things in the book.  I define legalism as making my preferences your burden.  One could take some of the points about the church and say that ‘it is too expensive to put in carpet, A/C…that money could have fed the poor in Africa, etc…do you really love your AC more than the orphan’s life you materialistic American?’  For sure, materialism IS a bigger problem for us than too much generosity, but Biblical balance is necessary.  Briefly, I see several principles in the Bible about money that need to be held in respectful tension:

a. God gives excess to some so that they can share with those who have less. (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

b.  Jesus’ radical generosity toward us should be to us a model and motivation for radical generosity with others.

c.  God delights in our enjoyment of His material gifts & gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17-19). (Note:if you take this principle apart from the others, you can justify an indulgent lifestyle that is not honoring to God)

d.  We are not to trust in riches but in God (Matthew 6:25-33) (watch Steve Farrar’s message on this passage)

e.  Wealth management is wise and includes how to save money, make money, spend money, and give money. (Proverbs 6:6-8; 14:24; 21:5; 3:9-10; 13:22; 10:22, etc.)

2.  It would also be easy for someone to romanticize a particular foreign Christian culture over the “indulgent Christian American” culture. Christian cultures have both darkness and light, wickedness and goodness.  The key is desperation and dependence.  It is true that we in the states often have more “stuff” that we mistakenly trust in.  David hits it well on page 60 when he states, “Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only He can accomplish.  Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God.  Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of His Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that He might make much of our Father in the world.”

"The Mystery Is Gone And Artists Just Start Looking Like Normal People That Aren't So Special," Says Kevin Breuner of CD Baby. Interview Part Two.

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“The Mystery Is Gone And Artists Just Start Looking Like Normal People That Aren’t So Special,” Says Kevin Breuner of CD Baby. Interview Part Two.

In the second segment of my interview with Kevin Breuner, who is the Marketing Project Manager at CD Baby and host of the DIY Musician Podcast, we talk about the singular model of success that the record industry operated under, why musicians need to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, and The Great Reset occurring in the record and music industries.

Kyle Bylin: In the past, the record and music industries were disproportionately biased towards a singular mode of thinking about how success was achieved and measured. Somewhere, at the back of some bar, an A&R agent sat and discovered your band, signed you to his representative label, and paid for the production of your album. Then, you toured on that album, got on radio, and in retail—if you moved millions of albums, then and only then, you were deemed a success. And, if you weren’t able to accomplish that feat, the album was considered a failure. 

In what ways have new technologies brought us into a new economy for music, where instead of one model that everyone tried to apply, to an economy where many different models exist?

Kevin Breuner: Right now, everything is wide open.  Artists are able to try anything they want to when it comes to the way they connect with their fans and get their music out.  From the artist perspective, I think there may be some issues with motivation.  Like, “What’s the point?”  Being an artist is not an easy road, and in the past, there was always the lofty dreams of “making it” that kept them going.  For the artists that did make it through the gate keepers, and were lucky enough to be signed, they received validation. 

“Even if their records didn’t sell, this
validation could be worth more than money.”

It says to family, friends, supporters, and fans, “We are a legitimate artists!  The time and money we put into our music is not a waste!”  Now, without that stamp of approval, I think it’s harder for artists to jump from being seen as a local band to a band who needs to be spending their time crafting music. 

On the fan community side, I think the age of the rock stars is over.  You don’t see people going as crazy for individual artists like they once did.  I think the downside of all the artist accessibility on the internet, is that much of the mystery is gone and artists just start looking like normal people that aren’t as special or mysterious.

Bylin: This new economy for music won’t be just about the music itself, but about music as art.

From the perspective of urban studies theorist Richard Florida, “Music was one of the first industries to experience the brutal effects of the digital transition, and it’s clear that the ability to make money has shifted—even for the most established acts—from selling albums, CDs, and even digital downloads to live performance and,  designing experiences.”

It’s been said that, “music as art gains value when put into context.” 

How do new technologies help artists create different and innovative “contexts” in which their music can gain value, tangible and intangible?

Breuner: Bands have always made most of their money and fan connections by playing live, so when I see statements about the live performance being the key to the future, I usually assume the person saying it is not a musician.  Plus, the concert industry has serious issue as well that the “live performance is the key” theory overlooks. 

“There is a glut of live shows with a growing number of artists vying for a limited number of concert bills.” 

Not to mention the fact that just because you write a good song, doesn’t mean you’re automatically good at performing live in a way that makes strong connections with fans (and in turn making money).  In my opinion, the usage of video in conjunction with the artist’s career is the next big frontier. 

Obviously many artists are already doing it, but bands that can find their niche with video, will find it much easier to broaden their fan base.  This could be live streaming shows, documentary type YouTube videos, funny content, you name it.  The consumption of video online is skyrocketing and it’s not going to slow down any time soon.  I always tell my band mates in Hello Morning that our largest audience will never be at our shows.  They are on the web.  We get video clips from just about everything we do.  Even if the show was not attended well, we’ll get views online that far exceed the venues capacity.

Bylin: Industry pundit and analyst Andrew Dubber has famously said that, “If you want to make the music that moves you, that will hopefully create meaning for people, and that will perhaps earn you a sustainable living, then you have chosen risk, and you will have to be as smart with the entrepreneurship as you are with the music if you want to survive and thrive.”

This means that you can’t make things that fans will not pay for, start insisting they should, and then complain that their morals to blame—if and when fans file-share your music.

By thinking of themselves as musical entrepreneurs, how does that change the way artists think about the music that they create, the context that they interject into it, and the overall direction of their career?

Breuner: I think it just forces artists to be more honest about their motivations with the art they are creating. 

“If you want it to sell, you have to figure out
what will sell.  There is fierce competition, so just
making a good album is not enough.”

For an artist that has been on a label, this idea always enters the equation.  A label wants to sell units, so they are going to
pressure you to produce music they know will sell.  I think for many indie artists, they find that reality a bit crushing.

Bylin: In The Great Reset, Florida argues that Great Resets are “broad and fundamental transformations of the economic and social order and involve much more than strictly economic and financial events.”They are the great transformative moments when new technologies and technological systems arise, when the economy is recast and society remade, and when the places where we work and live and work change to suit new needs.”

Do you think that the record and music industries are experiencing a Great Reset of their own?

Breuner: I’m not sure if it’s a reset or not.  There are still some serious challenges for the music industry.  It used to make money off a physical product which was easy to control, and the world is now digital where there is very little control.

“At some level, if you want to make money,
you have to be able to control your product.” 

The benefit of the old model is that it took people who were good with music and paired them up with people who were good at marketing and business.  Now that more is falling on the shoulders of the artists themselves, it’s still too early to tell if that will translate into long term profitable business models.  I can totally see a return to a hybrid of the old model where artists continue to pair up with people good at business, only this time around the artists will be more business savvy and be the ones in control of their career and music.


Multivitamins Don’t Raise Colon Cancer Survival, Prevent Recurrence


Multivitamins Don’t Raise Colon Cancer Survival, Prevent Recurrence

Taking a daily multivitamin didn’t improve survival or reduce the risk that colon cancer would come back for stage III patients enrolled in a clinical trial of chemotherapy after surgery.

Although about half of patients in the trial took a multivitamin supplement during their treatment, the vitamin didn’t improve their outcomes, nor did it reduce side effects.  At the same time, multivitamin use didn’t have a detrimental effect.

Researchers asked about 1,000 patients at the end of their chemotherapy and then about 6 months later about whether they took multivitamins during their chemo or afterwards.  Patients in the trial had randomly received one of two different chemos, and the trial showed no difference between the two treatments.

After about 7 years of follow-up there was no difference between patients who took multivitamins during chemotherapy and those who didn’t for cancer-free survival, recurrence, or overall survival.  There was also no difference for patients who said that they took multivitamins in the months after they finished chemo.

However, multivitamins taken during chemotherapy did appear to benefit patients who were 60 years old or younger.  who had about a 30 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cancer or having their colon cancer return.  This difference didn’t seem to be related to family history or microsatellite instability.  But taking multivitamins after chemotherapy was completed, didn’t improve outcomes for these younger patients.

Obese patients did derive benefit from multivitamin use, but those who were merely overweight actually did worse in terms of disease-free survival when they took them.  In normal weight people, vitamins didn’t make a difference.

Commenting on the study, Charles Fuchs, MD, director of gastrointestinal oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the paper’s senior author, said.

This study adds to a growing body of research that questions the purported benefit of multivitamin use, and it underscores the need to investigate the use of individual vitamins, such as vitamin D, which may, in fact, provide real benefit.

Dr. Fuchs noted that most multivitamins contain a small dose of vitamin D.

Use of multivitamins during chemotherapy didn’t appear to affect side effects, with no significant differences between those who took them and those who didn’t for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or lowered white cell counts.  There was less severe fatigue in multivitamin users, with 10.8 percent of the nonusers experiencing grade 3 or 4 fatigue compared to 7.4 percent of those who took vitamins.

Lead author Kimmie Ng and her colleagues concluded,

Multivitamin use during and after adjuvant chemotherapy was not significantly associated with
improved outcomes in patients with stage III colon cancer.

SOURCE: Ng et al., Journal of Clinical Oncology, Early Release, August 30, 2010.

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Posted by Kate Murphy on September 13th, 2010
Tags: nutritional supplements, recurrence risk, survival benefit

Stars, Networks Stand Up To Cancer Tonight


Stars, Networks Stand Up To Cancer Tonight

Stand Up To Cancer Logo

Tonight, September 10 at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX will join in a simultaneous broadcast to Stand Up to Cancer. HBO, Discovery Health, E!, MLB Network and The Style Network will also carry the show this year.

Stars from television, movies, music and sports will join cancer survivors in an effort to raise money for cancer research.

Diane Sawyer says,

The broadcast is a way of saying, ‘Together, we can do this’ And yes, we’re losing one person every minute, but 11 million survivors are out there; living proof that this can be done. It will also be an opportunity for everybody to figure out concrete ways that they can do the things that they connect to the most strongly.

100 percent of donations raised by SU2C will used for cutting-edge cancer research, including directly funding innovative, high-risk, proposals that often are not supported by conventional funding sources, but have the potential to improve the lives of cancer patients.

Nearly $75 million in funds raised during the 2008 broadcast are supporting five Dream Teams that take a collaborative approach to solving critical cancer problems.  Teams include more than 300 researchers from 20 institutions as well as patient advocates.

In addition, almost $10 million is dedicated to the work of young cancer scientists doing innovative research.  The SU2C Innovative Research Program was established in honor of the late Judah Folkman.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the scientific partner for SU2C, reviewing proposals and overseeing grants through its Scientific Advisory Committee.

Colorectal Cancer Coalition Chair Nancy Roach chairs the Stand Up to Cancer Advocacy Advisory Council. The Council brings the patient and family perspective to cancer issues important to the project.

The AACR-SU2C Clinical Trials Navigator will have extended hours during the broadcast and the following weekend.  You can reach them at 1-877-769-4829.

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Posted by Kate Murphy on September 10th, 2010
Tags: cancer research, Stand Up to Cancer