Clinical research requires multiple processes and personnel to be successful. There is the value and validity of the scientific approach and methods, as well as independent review, informed consent and monitoring the welfare of those enrolled. Yet, perhaps the most important steps are fair subject selection and adequate enrollment.
Huh? Oh right, this isn’t a lecture hall. What I meant to say is ‘Who will be in the study and will enough volunteers actually enroll to answer the scientific question being asked?’
Well, as someone who works in and around clinical research, I have always felt compelled to contribute as a study volunteer as well, to sort of “pay it forward.”
I have participated in several clinical research studies: some for the betterment of health and society, a few for the betterment of my wallet [consciously weighed against the risk I am exposing myself to, of course], and some to better understand and realize all that goes into executing clinical research study procedures.
Recently, I participated in a study that was conducted at the Clinical Research Center (CRC) of the Center for Clinical and Translational at The Ohio State University which was trying to better understand if certain genetic factors influence how blood pressure medication works.
The process of consent was conducted without any concern and all of my questions were answered by the coordinators for the study. The study required a week of controlled meals, which were designed, measured, fully prepared and packed in advance by the Bionutritional Core of the CRC. The study also required a 6-hour stay in the CRC for some blood draws and drug infusion by the CRC Nursing Staff.
When I was enrolled in the study, I was given enough food and water to last me the entire week. Since the researchers didn’t want any outside foods or drinks to throw off their scientific data, I was given a strict set of rules that included “Eat or drink only what has been provided to you until you return next week. We even want you to use the bottled water to brush your teeth.”
It was a very interesting study to be a part of and it could potentially help save the lives of people who don’t seem to respond as well to certain blood pressure medications as others. All phases of the study were carried out with expertise, professionalism, and problem-free.
I was amazed to see the level of precision and detail that is required of scientists, research teams, and most definitely the study volunteers to help learn something that may lead to better health care treatments for the future. Though it was challenging to stick to such a strict diet for the entire week, the reward of knowing that I have contributed to something bigger than myself far outweighed my personal inconvenience.
|Carson Reider clinical research consultant / RSA|