Many exciting advancements in diabetes research are happening all the time. You can read about the results these endeavors bring in reputable publications both online and in print, and you've likely heard about some of the improvements in diabetes care that have resulted. Indeed, every diabetes medication you take and form of treatment your healthcare team recommends was once the subject of studies to verify that it works and is safe. But have you ever thought of being one of the patient volunteers who helps to advance the state of diabetes care? Here are a few things you may want to think about if you're considering whether medical research could be right for you:
In any medical research, it is hoped that the participants will benefit. If you participate in a study examining the impact of a new treatment for people who have both diabetes and depression, for example, the researchers hope you and other volunteers will leave the study with a better ability to manage both of these conditions.
Have you ever thought of being involved in diabetes research?
It's important to remember that all medical research, and particularly clinical trials testing the efficacy of new treatments, is seeking to learn whether the treatments are effective rather than providing guaranteed results. However, you may still benefit even if the new treatment does not work precisely as planned. You can benefit from receiving care during medical research from well-qualified physicians, nurses and others at high-quality facilities, for example. This benefit remains regardless of the study's outcome.
Furthermore, all medical research is meant to benefit everyone who lives with the condition being studied. That means your participation in diabetes research could help people living with the condition now as well as those who will be diagnosed in the future. Indeed, some studies focus on prevention - meaning you could be part of a development that helps people avoid diabetes entirely in the future.
What are the risks?
All medical research comes with risks. It's important to know that every study that involves human subjects is carefully reviewed by an ethics board that is not connected to the study's researchers or the organizations that fund it. The purpose of this review is to ensure the health and safety of all study participants, and to confirm that the study is designed in such a way that it should bring maximum benefits and minimal risks to those who choose to become involved.
Getting involved in diabetes research can have many benefits.
Should you find a medical research study you'd like to be involved in, someone from the study will explain the entire study plan to you. This will include a discussion of all of the risks that are involved, how likely adverse events are and what the protocol would be for addressing these events. Researchers need your informed consent to include you in a study, which means you will have plenty of opportunities to ask all of the questions you have before deciding whether to join.
If you're interested in the possibility of participating as a volunteer in medical research, discuss it with your doctor to see whether it may be a good idea for you. From there, you can look into clinical trials that are recruiting through the website ClinicalTrials.gov.