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B. Computers May Help Cancer Patients Manage Pain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Recent studies show that many cancer patients don't take the pain-management drugs prescribed to them. Doctor Chris Miaskowski, a researcher at the University of California San Francisco, says most physicians don't have enough time with patients to make them understand the importance of maintaining a regimen. But Miaskowski thinks computers can be a valuable tool to help educate patients about their drugs.

Miaskowski: We're going to need to use different assertive devices because I'm not sure if the time element is going to change in term of health care interaction. Computer-assisted intervention with patients that's shown some promise with other diseases.

Narrator: Miaskowski says preliminary studies with elderly breast cancer patients have already shown the Internet to be an effective tool -- even with people who aren't computer savvy.

Miaskowski: The stereotypes have been blown out of the water. At the end of the study, these older women didn't want to give their computers back. They really enjoyed the online support group and chat.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.