Demystifying Clinical Research

January 27, 2012

ImageKaty McNulty is the Outreach Coordinator for NeuroTrials Research. Katy will be guest posting on the NeuroTrials blog, providing readers with a closer look into what it means to participate in a clinical research study.

As Outreach Coordinator for NeuroTrials Research, my job is to spread awareness of new research studies and help identify possible volunteers. As I talk to members in the community, I consistently find that my greatest challenge is the lack of education about clinical trials.

For many people, the idea of medical research brings to mind images of lab rats, bubbling beakers, and mad scientists. While these are powerful images that make for great movie scenes, I’m happy to reassure you that the research facility I work in every day is a far cry from Frankenstein’s laboratory.

When community members tour our facility for the first time, they seem pleasantly surprised to discover that we are set up a lot like any other medical center – patient waiting areas, medical exam rooms, and a sleep research facility with private rooms that look and feel like hotel rooms. Our investigators are distinguished neurologists, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, sleep specialists, and general practitioners who have their own successful practices, and are actively involved in the medical community.

Our staff makes every effort to help our participants feel comfortable and welcome throughout the course of the study. After successful completion, many of our volunteers request to be contacted about future research opportunities because they had such a good experience at our site.

Research is important to all of us. Without the participation of volunteers, new medications and treatments cannot become available. Research is vital to the progression of medical understanding and treatment advances for everything from our common complaints to our most devastating illnesses.

We are currently conducting clinical trials for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Narcolepsy, Restless Legs Syndrome, Epilepsy, and Chronic Pain. Some of our more common studies include COPD, Insomnia, and Sleep Apnea.

I welcome you to contact me to learn more about our research studies. I am always happy to provide informational materials, answer questions, and arrange visits to our facility. I am also available to speak to your staff or group about any of our studies, or about research participation in general.

Being out and involved in our community is my favorite part of my position at NeuroTrials. Over the last year or so, I have met some amazing, dedicated people, and had the opportunity to learn about innovative public and private organizations that provide much needed services to our community. I am hoping that this blog will provide a platform to not only discuss and de-mystify research studies, but also highlight some of these inspiring people and services along the way.