What is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term (not a specific disease) that describes a group of symptoms which negatively impacts memory severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia with 60-80% of cases, while Vascular Dementia is the second most common dementia type. Nevertheless, there are many other conditions that cause symptoms of dementia. As opposed to Alzheimer’s, some forms of dementia are reversible.
Why do people participate in clinical
Clinical trials are vital to the advancement of modern medicine. They enable us to explore, detect, prevent, treat, and (hopefully) cure the diseases and illnesses which threaten us all.
Clinical trials aim to determine if potential new drugs, tests, and treatments are safe for humans. They can also investigate other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people living with particular conditions. Resulting treatments might include new drugs and treatments, new ways to detect and diagnose a condition, or new combinations of surgical procedures.
In short, the possibilities of what can be achieved through clinical research are endless, but the success of trials is inextricably tied to the availability of volunteer participants. Participation in clinical research globally is at record levels and increasing year over year. Nevertheless, some eligible patients still choose not to take part in studies, mostly due to reservations they have about what a trial involves.
Whether you’re considering volunteering for a clinical trial, or are just interested to learn more, here are a few of the main reasons why so many people choose to participate:
1. To get access to new treatments
For people living with serious conditions, participating in clinical trials can be a lifeline. Not only will you gain access to groundbreaking treatments that are not widely available and could be potentially life-changing, but you also get the benefit of being closely assessed and monitored by a dedicated team of expert medical professionals who are fully invested in your personal health and wellbeing.
2. To give hope to their loved-ones
Many illnesses or diseases can be genetic. By participating in clinical research, you are helping to improve the lives of your family members and loved ones in the future. Volunteering for a trial also enables the advancement of medicine, making new treatments available for your future family. Who knows - the study you participate in could be the one in which a cure is discovered!
3. To give hope for the future
Not only could participation be beneficial for your own family, but contributing to the discovery of new treatments has the potential to help transform life for millions of others living with a particular condition! New drugs could enable future generations of patients to live more easily or even wipe out a disease altogether. The potential to make a difference in the world by taking part in a clinical trial is a major reason why so many people participate.
4. Because their physician advises it
Oftentimes, people get involved in clinical trials on the advice of their physician. Your doctor will most likely recommend a trial because of the potential for you to access new treatment. They have a responsibility to put your health and wellbeing first, so you can be sure that they can be trusted if they believe participating in a trial could be of benefit to you.
5. Because clinical trials need participants from all backgrounds
Clinical research is a complex and thorough process, and trials often require highly specific criteria of their participants. Many trials require people with rare conditions and from diverse backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities. Obviously, not everyone who volunteers for a trial will be eligible, and a significant number of trials fail to get started simply because they could not recruit enough patients. Therefore, for the sake of medical advancement, it’s important that as many people as possible volunteer for clinical research.
6. Because clinical trials are designed with patient wellbeing in mind
People often approach the prospect of clinical trials with concerns about their health, wellbeing, and privacy, and these are all valid concerns. However, modern clinical trials are designed to be patient-centric, focusing on minimizing inconvenience to patients and maximizing their wellbeing at every stage of research. This even extends to such initiatives as compensating participants for their time and providing transport to and from doctors’ offices or research sites when visits are necessary.
All clinical trials are also monitored by an institutional review board (IRB) with a purpose and priority to uphold the rights and welfare of clinical trial subjects. The IRB uses its authority to ensure that all clinical research is conducted ethically and that patient safety is paramount. Understanding the role of the IRB usually eases concerns and reassures potential participants that clinical trials are a safe and beneficial process as well as a fulfilling one.