Medical Research and the Myths We Fear

For those suffering from a specific medical condition, clinical trials are sometimes suggested by clinicians and loved ones.  Commonly, they are mentioned when all other known options have been explored. Yet medical science is desperately seeking volunteers and people frequently never consider actually participating or believe there are too many reasons not to take the first step.

1) My primary care physician would have mentioned a clinical trial:  While having your physician as a partner in helping find solutions for a particular condition is a great part of a plan, physicians may not know of specific trials being conducted for specific conditions. Participants can take control of their healthcare by seeking out alternate treatment options, including clinical trial participation.

2) There are already enough volunteers:  People oftentimes believe that they are not needed in a clinical trial or that someone else will or should do it or even that there are too many others who will participate.  The truth is, each person who attends a clinical trial provides very valuable information in the development of new treatments…and participating might just provide a solution for the participant!

3) It takes time with no guarantee of reward:  Many may worry about putting in time and effort to participate in a clinical study, while ultimately receiving no positive results regarding their specific condition.  While it is always possible that participation may not yield results for the attendee, it may help to know that their direct participation may ultimately benefit others with the same condition, what is called a “societal benefit”.

4)  I’m not going to get any better because I will end up with a placebo anyway: There are many different types of clinical trials with some of them that do not include placebos at all; if placebos will be used during a study, this information will be discussed prior to the start of the study so that prospective participants can be informed. Moreover, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that people involved in clinical studies do somewhat better than people in a similar stage of their disease who are not enrolled, regardless of whether the investigational treatment works or not. This may be due to the general high quality of care provided during clinical studies.

5) I’ve already tried everything, so there is no way this can be helpful:  People suffering from a medical ailment may try several treatments which have provided no results, and then become frustrated with continuing the process of searching for a treatment that helps.  At this point, it can sometimes be easier to complain about what is being experienced with the condition than to take additional action to combat it.  One way to approach any medical condition is allow it to victimize you and another is to take control and to do something about it.  Those individuals who participate in clinical trials report significant differences in the types of evaluations they receive and the oversight that occurs during the clinical trial itself.  If in fact a test treatment works the participant may actually be the first to benefit from a new drug.

All clinical research trials are designed to safeguard the health and well-being of those who participate. Highly-skilled medical researchers are making great strides in developing new treatments for a myriad of medical conditions, but do so primarily through steps taken during clinical trials.

Do you have anxiety, adult ADHD, depression or PTSD? Do you or a loved one have a medical condition such as fibromyalgia or Alzheimer’s disease?  Why not participate in a clinical trial?  Your participation undoubtedly provides valuable insights on the path to finding help for all of those with a similar condition… and you just might find the solution you’ve been looking for.