It sounds like a good match

I recently signed up for a research study at Ohio State that I am eligible for, that interests me and that my schedule can accommodate. So I’m officially a participant enrolled in “Effects of sesame oil supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors in obese and non-obese otherwise healthy subjects.”

The Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Thankfully, I qualify as an “otherwise healthy subject.” I take very few medications and so far have been fortunate enough to avoid any serious illnesses. My primary complaints relate to extra weight and occasional soreness in my knees and shoulders, but little more than that.

It helps, at least I hope, that I exercise regularly, load my not-so-perfect diet with fruits and vegetables, and practice occasional meditation to relieve stress.

Ohio State researchers are known for their research in nutritional solutions to health problems, especially in cancer. Any consumer magazine these days will tell you which superfoods to eat for good health. So the concept of a food item potentially being good for human health does not surprise me, but a study to determine whether something like sesame oil – a fat – could lower heart disease risk intrigues me.

The study will take place over 12 weeks, and during that time I will take a daily dose of either sesame oil or a placebo – I will never know which. I will give up some blood a few times and subject myself to the scale regularly, but overall the study is not invasive, and most visits won’t take very long.

To be determined eligible for the study, I completed a three-page questionnaire documenting my family history, my current health condition, and general information about my diet and exercise habits. I also signed a detailed consent form, which is part of any research study involving humans. The form detailed any potential risks associated with participating in the study and clarified that I can opt out at any time.

I read every word, and determined that joining the study was worth the little bit of inconvenience and minimal pain I might encounter. After all, I just might be helping discover something that could save a life someday.


Emily Caldwell science writer and co-editorRead more posts from Emily
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Categories: The Participant's Point of View

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