Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Volunteering for a Study Can Help You and Others

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Volunteering for a Study Can Help You and Others

Article excerpt

Dear Doctor K: I have a particular disease. A nearby medical school is recruiting people with my condition to participate in a research study. Should I volunteer?

Dear Reader: There are two good reasons to consider volunteering for a study: It might help you, and it might help others. In some types of studies, there also may be risks to you.

Sometimes my patients ask me: "Do we really need to do all these medical research studies? Don't we know what treatments work without conducting and paying for all these studies -- often with taxpayer dollars?"

That is an easy question to answer. The history of medicine is, unfortunately, filled with examples of new treatments that doctors thought should work. Indeed, most doctors predicted they would work. But when the treatments were tested, they didn't work. Sometimes they made people worse.

And sometimes such treatments were given to many patients before a study was done to show that they were of no value, or even harmful. …

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