Medical research organizations all over the globe are always on the lookout for volunteers to participate in their medical research studies. These studies work to improve treatment, diagnosis, and prevention, for hundreds of different medical conditions. Whether you need treatment or lending a hand for research, figuring out where to begin can be a challenge.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to find medical research studies and what to do once you’ve identified one:
Table of contents:
- Use online search tools
- Have a chat with your doctor
- Get in touch with the researcher
- Know what questions to ask
Use online search tools
The internet is a great resource when you need to find medical research studies. Websites like clinicaltrials.gov maintain a regularly updated registry of the research studies taking place around the world. Sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the website has information on over 125,000 clinical trials taking place around the world.
A few other popular sources of information on medical research studies online are:
Vaxnet.com: A clinical trial network centered on vaccines. Also offers information about the latest research on vaccines.
CenterWatch.com: A global point of reference for research and trial information.
WHO ICTRP: The International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) contains information on clinical trials and other medical research being conducted under the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Have a chat with your doctor
You must speak with your doctor, general practitioner, or primary care physician, before participating in any research study. All medical research studies need you to provide informed consent and it’s best to understand in full what you’re signing up for. Who better than your doctor to help guide you?
Your doctor can not only recommend any studies they feel can be of benefit to you they will also know your medical history and therefore will be able to give you advice on how to proceed with the study.
Get in touch with researchers
Once you’ve identified and shortlisted research studies, get in touch with the researchers in charge of them. You can ask them for further details of the study and they’ll get a chance to assess you, to see if you’re a good fit. This is a good time to find out if you will have to travel to participate in the study or if you could take the tests at home. Medical research supply companies specialize in arranging for trials to be taken at home or in a convenient common area.
Know what questions to ask
When speaking with the researchers, or doing your own research on the study, it’s good to get a thorough understanding of the study before making any decisions. Some of the questions you can ask are:
- What is the history of the study
- What types of tests will be made
- What kind of side effects can be anticipated compared to your ongoing treatment
- Will you be required to travel to or stay in a hospital or medical care center
- What length of follow-up care will be provided
In addition to these resources, there are also dozens of journals and medical publications providing information on clinical trials. They can also be a great way of keeping tabs on a developing area of research or new forays that require volunteers.