Be a Clinical Research Volunteer-Who Me?-I am Healthy!!

by Sherry Edwards, CCRC

Have you ever considered participating in medical research but thought “I am healthy; clinical research is for people who are ill” – not true! Healthy people contribute to medical advances by providing information about the “normal” state of health. In clinical research, healthy individuals participate as controls or “the norm” to compare with the condition under investigation. Research into health and disease has been going on for nearly 2700 years producing results toward improving human health. As early as 634 BC Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar conducted a ten-day clinical study to find out if a meat/wine diet vs legumes/water would keep soldiers more fit. The legumes/water diet proved best. Between the year 2000 and 2017, the National Institutes of Health reports that ~ 250,000 registered clinical trials have been conducted. Medical breakthroughs affect every aspect of our health – from vaccines that keep us healthy to exquisite refinements in pediatric care, brain health, cardiac care, preventive care and fitness – all areas of medical concern. For examples of the variety of recent research conducted at the National Institutes of Health, check here.

What benefits us needs our support. Healthy volunteers, especially from all ethnic backgrounds, are critical in clinical research. Clinical research only happens because people participate – researchers provide the know-how and participants provide the means – there is a place in research for everyone to make a difference. The National Institutes of Health has useful information for individuals considering whether to participate in clinical research as a healthy volunteer.

Emory School of Medicine Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology have interesting opportunities to try out participating as a healthy volunteer. Whether you have one hour for the African American Genomic Psychiatry Cohort and or can spend more time for the Healthy Aging Study, both will yield important information for improving the quality of life for all of us. In the Genomic Psychiatry Cohort study, healthy African American individuals provide needed information about healthy states compared with individuals who have schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Giving an hour of time will help better understand these mental health challenges. Healthy aging itself has become a national focus and Emory’s Department of Neurology has a terrific study about healthy aging for individuals of all ethnicities. Call for more information 404-778-2497.

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