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Nature Sights and Sounds to Reduce Pain in Cancer Patients Undergoing Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

This study has been completed.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Information provided by:
Johns Hopkins University Identifier:
First received: April 17, 2006
Last updated: March 31, 2015
Last verified: January 2005
Pain is a common and difficult problem for patients with cancer. It has been reported that over 80% of cancer patients suffer from pain. Much of this pain is iatrogenic and related to procedures. Dr. Grossman recently demonstrated that most patients undergoing bone marrow biopsy have poor pain control during the procedure. Treatment of pain is almost entirely with analgesic medications, principally opioids. These medications have numerous undesirable effects such as sedation, confusion, hypotension and constipation that limit their efficacy and utility. Drs. Diette, Lechtzin, Rubin and colleagues recently demonstrated that use of nature sights and sounds (NSS), a simple, safe, and inexpensive intervention, decreases pain during fiberoptic bronchoscopy, a procedure commonly performed to diagnose cancer and to detect pulmonary complications of cancer therapy. Patients were randomly assigned to either standard care with intravenous narcotics and benzodiazepines or standard care coupled with view of a nature scene and use of nature sounds before, during, and after bronchoscopy. The group assigned to the NSS reported significantly better pain control than the control group. While these findings are novel and exciting, they raised several new questions that suggest logical extensions of this work. It is not known whether this intervention can be applied to patients in other settings, nor is it known whether comparison to standard care is an appropriate control group. Further, the mechanism of action of NSS needs to be determined. NSS may simply be a form of distraction therapy but it may have other properties. The theory of biophilia proposes there are specific elements in nature imagery that exert beneficial health effects. Because NSS appears to be a promising and safe intervention for the treatment of pain, these investigators plan to perform a controlled clinical trial in cancer patients undergoing invasive procedures. Patients will be randomly assigned to one of three arms, standard care, NSS, and a non-nature based distraction technique. We will study the efficacy of NSS for the management of procedure-related pain in oncology patients. The findings will provide necessary background information to develop more definitive studies of NSS that should be competitive for external funding. This exciting study will help develop a harmless, inexpensive method to treat pain in cancer patients, that may complement or replace analgesic medications.

Condition Intervention Phase
Cancer Device: Biophilic Nature Scene and Sound Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Nature Sights and Sounds to Reduce Pain in Cancer Patients Undergoing Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Johns Hopkins University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Pain ratings: Hopkins Pain Rating Instrument

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Affective Distress: Profile of Moods States

Estimated Enrollment: 120
Study Start Date: August 2004
Estimated Study Completion Date: June 2005
  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of cancer
  • Age>18
  • Outpatient in the Weinberg Cancer Pavilion
  • Capable of providing informed consent
  • Undergoing bone marrow aspirate/biopsy
  • Lack of any exclusion criteria

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Visual impairment precluding use of nature scenes or city skyline photo
  • Hearing impairment precluding use of compact discs or nature sounds
  • Altered mental status (mental status score <25)
  • Infection requiring contact isolation
  • Language barrier that would limit ability to answer English language questionnaires
  • Karnofsky performance score below 60
  • Patients receiving conscious sedation
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00315796

United States, Maryland
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21205
Sponsors and Collaborators
Johns Hopkins University
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Principal Investigator: Noah Lechtzin, MD, MHS Johns Hopkins University
  More Information

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number): Identifier: NCT00315796     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: J0387
NCCAM: AT00437
Study First Received: April 17, 2006
Last Updated: March 31, 2015

Keywords provided by Johns Hopkins University:
Mind-Body Intervention
bone marrow aspirate
bone marrow biopsy processed this record on August 18, 2017