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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Meet Carlene

Aug 11, 10:24 AM

Carlene Chen, RN

In my years of conducting clinical trials, many things have changed. For example, back in the day we used a pen to fill out data collection forms, which were then sent to study sponsors by overnight delivery. Today data are entered directly into web-based clinical trial databases. One thing about clinical research that has not changed, though, is that our workflow can quickly change from “busy” to “uber busy.”  That’s why it is so nice to have department members like Carlene Chen, RN, BSN, who is available as needed to help the Clinical Research Center through the uber busy times.

Clinical Research Center

Carlene began her nursing career working at Stanford University Hospital, first in neurosurgery and then in the Coronary Care Unit. In what was undoubtedly a fascinating three years, Carlene worked in the ICU and as the Diabetes Nurse coordinator in Arizona for the Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility serving the Navajo population.

Since joining the Clinical Research Center in 2007, Carlene has worked on a variety of clinical trials, including research in oncology, gastroenterology, diabetes, sleep, neurology, and vaccines. Although Carlene didn’t know it at the time, the first clinical trial she worked on at the Clinical Research Center, one to evaluate an anti-nausea medication for patients receiving chemotherapy, ended up benefiting one of Carlene’s family members a few years later when the anti-nausea treatment was approved.  The Clinical Research Center is gratified to get firsthand feedback about how important the work we do here is for patients and our own families.

Carlene is currently helping out with the Expedition 3 Study, a study evaluating a potential treatment to slow the worsening of Alzheimer’s disease in those who have mild disease.

In her spare time Carlene is busy with her family and home and enjoys being active outdoors. Carlene has two high school-aged children to keep on track, and she is determined to further landscape the property around her home “in spite of the deer”.

If you are interested in learning more about our studies contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163 or send an email to

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center

Tomatoes: Planning Your Harvest

Aug 11, 09:29 AM

The peak season for tomatoes is fast approaching! If you are a home gardener like I am, you probably have been enjoying a delightful handful of cherry tomatoes and an occasional - much anticipated - slicing tomato that finally ripened on the vine. But as memory serves, it will soon be a challenge to simply keep up with the harvest, especially if you grow grafted tomatoes as the yield rate increases three or four fold! Before long you will be harvesting bucket loads of these delicious morsels!  That’s a lot of tomatoes so it’s important to have a plan! 

Obviously tomatoes taste fabulous when simply eaten raw and in their natural state. However, there are endless ways to enjoy this plethora of fruit. Some quick and easy methods are grilling, tossing them into a stir fry or sauté, and adding them to a fresh salsa or salads. With a little more work, they are great tasting when roasted, stuffed, pureed, made into a sauce and used in soups and stews. If preserving for future use interests you, they can be oven-dried, dehydrated, canned or frozen.

Whatever your liking, tomatoes are a great source of nutrition. One medium tomato/one cup of cherry tomatoes provides about 25 calories and offer significant sources of vitamins A and C, biotin, molybdenum and lycopene. They also contribute good sources of vitamins K and B6, folate, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and dietary fiber.

Studies suggest tomatoes are beneficial to both heart and bone health, may provide anti-cancer benefits and have been linked to reducing neurologic disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

My favorite “go-to” recipe for cherry tomatoes is very quick and easy sauté. Preheat a skillet on medium heat then drizzle with olive oil to lightly coat. Toss in whole cherry tomatoes, fresh minced garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper followed by a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. Sautee for 30-60 seconds, stirring very gently as needed. Remove from heat just before the tomatoes pop and deflate. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!

Got big slicers?  I use the following recipe as a stand-alone meal, side dish or snack, depending on the size of the tomato and how hungry I am. Simply cut a large tomato in half and place cut side up on a rack in a shallow pan. Lightly drizzle tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, then layer with fresh mozzarella cheese followed by panko bread crumbs and a drizzle of melted butter on top. Place 6-8 inches under the oven broiler and cook until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.  Remove and garnish with fresh chopped basil. The flavors that are created in this dish are amazing; the soft silkiness of the melted cheese and warm tomato accompanied by the crunchiness of the toasted breadcrumbs and the fragrant herbal taste from the fresh basil makes this an outstanding dish anytime of day!

Take action now as to how you will enjoy the peak season of tomatoes. A little preplanning goes a long way in order to take full advantage of your harvest!  For more healthy recipe, click here.

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Alzheimer’s Prevention Research

Jul 16, 02:02 PM

Clinical Research Center

The Clinical Research Center is currently participating in the Expedition 3 Study, a trial for those who have mild Alzheimer’s disease. The investigational drug solanezumab is being evaluated in this worldwide trial to see whether it helps slow the worsening of Alzheimer’s in patients who currently have mild disease. 

When we announced our research center would be involved in the solunezemab study and began advertising it on television, we were not surprised to receive lots of phone calls from community members who wanted to participate in an Alzheimer’s prevention study. However, Expedition 3 is not a prevention study, so we had to explain that to a lot of disappointed callers.

Interestingly, there is now a large prevention–focused study investigating the Alzheimer’s disease prevention possibilities of solanezumab, the same drug under investigation in Expedition 3.  The Alzheimer’s prevention study is called the A4 Study and participants between 65-86 years old with normal thinking and memory who may be at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease are being sought. The Research Center is not part of the A4 study. However, we would like to help get the word out about this exciting research. The A4 study began recruiting subjects in June, 2014.  You can read more about the A4 study, including the location of clinical trial sites, at

We are pleased to know about the A4 study because the Research Center is about to launch a new advertising campaign for the Expedition 3 solanezumab study.  Our new campaign will include information about our study for those with mild Alzheimer’s disease in the preshow programs at two Corvallis movie theaters, the Carmike on Circle Boulevard and Regal Cinemas on Ninth Street. At least this time we can direct those callers interested in Alzheimer’s disease prevention to the A4 study!

If you are interested in learning more about the Expedition 3 Study, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163 or send an email to

- Julie Carrico is Associate Coordinator of The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center


The Blender Blog

Jul 15, 03:37 PM

Recently a large portion of Oregon has experienced a climate of HOT HOT HOT!  For me this brings to mind using smoothies to beat the heat. Smoothies come in all types and flavors and can be consumed year around.  Basic varieties include fruit such as berries, bananas and oranges; ice cream and yogurt preparations, and others that are vegetable oriented.

Consider using cold refreshing mixes for when the weather is hot and the converse when the temperatures plummet. Potentially, smoothies can represent a meal that can become a treat in the middle of the day; even healthy blender concoctions can be made to taste like dessert, creating a win – win for mom and kids.  It is also a great way to salvage uneaten fruit before they over ripen.  Simply prepare the fruit as you would prior to eating, i.e. peel the banana, then seal tightly in a Ziploc bag and toss into the freezer for later use.  Now you have even an easier and healthier way to create a frozen drink because the fruit replaces ice cubes when blending! 

Blenderized soups can be easily made by using blanched, roasted or sautéed vegetables.  To make this, simply toss your vegetables into a blender.  Add some fresh herbs and spices and enough liquid, such as stock, to create the blended consistency you desire.  If a hot beverage or meal is desired, simply pour your creation into a glass mug, microwave and enjoy!  What a quick, healthy and tasty way to appreciate seasonal produce any time of the year.

Advantages of smoothies are that they can be a packed with nutrition, quick and easy to make and are a low cost portable meal that tastes great.  Depending on ingredients, they can be rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

Food choices are endless when making a blended drink or meal.  Here are a few ideas to get you started; then mix and match to your liking:

  • Berries - strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Fruits - peaches, mangos, bananas, apples, pears, cherries, coconut
  • Vegetables - spinach, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes, carrots
  • Dairy - skim milk, low fat ice cream or yogurt
  • Flavor enhancers - fresh mint, dark chocolate, vanilla, almond/soy milk, sorbet 

The fun in creating smoothies is that there are no rules.  Experiment with different combinations of ingredients until you find the ones you like. Get the kids involved and have a friendly competition as to who can make the most tasty and nutritious blenderized concoction!

Need more ideas?  Click here for 50 great smoothie recipes!

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Strawberries! Every meal is an opportunity!

Jun 27, 04:22 PM

June is definitely the time to start enjoying fresh local strawberries in the Willamette Valley!  Friends and family are seen hustling to nearby farmers markets and street-side fruit stands purchasing flats of these mouthwatering fresh berries, then racing home to make delicious jams, jellies and of course strawberry shortcake!  But it doesn’t need to stop there.  In recent years strawberries have become increasingly popular in the culinary world across the globe.  So the next time you have strawberries on your mind, think outside of the box and experiment with some new innovative, fun and delicious ways to use these delectable morsels - as every meal is an opportunity!

  • Salsa: When making salsa, replace half or all of the tomatoes with fresh sliced strawberries.
  • Roasted Strawberries: Roast fresh strawberries in a hot oven and make into a sweet or savory jam, sauce or dressing base.
  • Pair with Proteins. A quick sauté of strawberries, balsamic vinegar and black pepper transforms into a delicious sauce that complements well with any meat, fish or poultry.
  • Beverages: Replace ice cubes with frozen strawberries when blending up a smoothie or other drinks. 
  • Cereal and Salads: Add sliced strawberries to your morning cereal and your daily salads.  Pureed strawberries can easily be made into a light, flavorful and healthy dressing.  A strawberry caprese salad made with fresh mozzarella and basil is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
  • Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt. Instead of making fat-laden ice cream, try a light and refreshing strawberry sorbet, frozen yogurt or just frozen berries to help keep you cool during the hot days of summer.

Strawberries can be found all year around in many grocery or specialty stores.  Not only is this fruit convenient and versatile, it is packed with essential nutrients and offers numerous health benefits.  One cup of fresh or frozen strawberries provides only 45 calories and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, folate and iron. They contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.  This berry is also rich in polyphenol compounds such as flavonoids and anthocyanins, which help protect the body’s immune system from inflammation and oxidative stress.  Research suggests strawberries may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, insulin-glucose response and several gastrointestinal cancers.

So whether you prefer fresh or frozen; whole, sliced, diced or pureed, there are endless ways to incorporate this delicious fruit into your diet all year around.  For more inspirational recipe ideas click here.

Until next time, here’s to healthy eating!

Lori Dodds, RD, LD, is a Registered Dietitian at The Corvallis Clinic Nutrition Services Department.

Follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.