Monday, August 15, 2011

Research Studies & Clinical Trials

Today's topic is again research studies and clinical trials.

I've covered this before, but it's important, especially for women, because as far as cardiac research is concerned, only around 27 percent of the participants are female, despite the fact that heart disease kills more women than men every year.

The Clinical website is still one of the best resources for finding studies.

Also, don't be shy about letting your cardiologist know that you're willing to participate in research.

That's how I found out that I'm not a poor Plavix metabolizer. When the news came out early last year that some people may be taking Plavix and not responding to it, I talked to my cardiologist, and he got me into a study that a colleague was conducting.

All it cost me was some time--one appointment, essentially--and a couple of vials of blood, and a week or two later, I found out that I'm not in the 2 percent of Caucasians who are poor metabolizers. And my stats are now in this researcher's database as part of the study.

A lot of studies or trials are more time-intensive than the one above, and if I had been unlucky enough to be a poor metabolizer, my participation in the study would have been more extensive.

I know it's time-consuming to participate. I work about 30 miles from where I live, and the hospital and cardiologist who are following me are about 10 miles in the other direction from my work commute. I lose at least three hours of work every time I see my cardiologist, and as the cliche goes, "time is money."

But where would we be without these studies, without these clinical trials?

Not to go all melodramatic here, but it really is a matter of life and death.

Heart disease is still so poorly understood in women; we need to step up and do our part to help. If not us, then who?

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