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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Why You Should Consider Participating in a Clinical Trial

Sep 08, 09:36 AM

Clinical Research Center

Volunteers ask me lots of questions as they are deciding if they want to participate in a clinical trial, but here’s one that I’m almost never asked: Do patients who participate in clinical trials have better health outcomes than those who do not?  

In fact, there is evidence that patients treated in clinical trials survive longer (see Should I Enter a Clinical Trial?; Why talk to your patients about clinical trials; Clinical Studies - Myths vs. Facts).

There is even evidence that patients treated at hospitals who participate in trials receive better care and have lower mortality (see Better Outcomes for Patients Treated at Hospitals That Participate in Clinical Trials). Why would this be the case when almost certainly many participants in these studies were receiving placebo treatment?

The reason patients in studies have better health outcomes is actually pretty obvious.  First, study patients are working with physicians and researchers who are experts in their fields.  The clinical study will likely require more examinations and tests than is normal for their condition, which means patients receive extra observation by these experts.  Also, patients who participate in studies become empowered by taking an active role in their health care, and they learn more about treating and managing their condition.

I’m reminded of Gary (not his real name). When Gary entered a Type 2 diabetes study his diabetes was out of control. He was tired, had blurry vision, and his feet hurt all the time.  As is usual with clinical trials, Gary and his doctor were “blinded” as to which investigational diabetes medication Gary received, but the medication worked for Gary.  His blood sugar levels came into the normal range; his vision cleared up; his feet hurt much less, and his energy level improved.  

The point is that as a result of study participation, Gary was treated for his diabetes and received education to help him understand and manage his diabetes better.  During the study Gary learned which foods greatly increased his blood sugar levels.  By the end of the study Gary had learned so much about management of his diabetes that he was able to take charge of his disease and manage his diabetes in a much more effective manner.  To me, this was a win-win situation: medical research was advanced by Gary’s participation in the clinical trial and his health and knowledge of his condition improved.

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



Stop the School Daze!

Sep 05, 09:43 AM

Hey moms and dads!  It’s that time again, and back to school we go!  Hopefully your kids are excited to put their thinking caps back on after a fun summer break and are getting ready for their new venture into a higher grade and reuniting with classmates.  But remember, giving your students the best chance at learning requires planning for their nutritional support throughout the day.

We all know that breakfast is an important meal of the day.  So providing sound nutritional substance before they head out the door is the first step in avoiding the “daze” of school.

It is not easy to monitor your child’s food intake while they are away from home. However, a little pre-planning from both parent and child will aid in ensuring sound nutritional eating throughout the day, which in turn can help expedite their brain power.

Let’s talk packing school lunches:

Think of packed lunches as a small complete meal in a box. As with the USDA “My Plate” guidelines (click here to view them), be sure to include all of the basic food groups when packing your child’s lunch.

  • Protein: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, dried beans, nuts and seeds are great sources of protein and overall nutrition.  Since they take longer to digest, they also provide satiety for many hours.
  • Fruit: Nothing is better than fresh picked produce that is in season!  Take your child grocery shopping with you and show them the different varieties that are offered as the seasons change.  This will help expand their palate and avoid the dreaded rut of eating the same foods.
  • Vegetables: The seasonal change in vegetables is another opportunity for your child to become familiar with a wider variety of foods. The more they experiment, the easier it may be for them to taste foods outside of the box.  Even if you prefer to purchase pre-packed produce, it still offers a good variety of nutrition and is very easy to toss into a lunchbox or backpack as a snack later.
  • Whole Grains:  Remember to look for “whole grains” on a food label as they offer superior nutrition, as well as vitamins and minerals compared in those that are more refined.  Take the opportunity to peruse the grocery aisles with your child, and take turns selecting different brands of various whole grain breads and cereals so that you can find varieties that your child will eat and enjoy.
  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt and cheeses are great sources of protein, calcium, and overall nutrition.  Wrapping a frozen ice pack around foods that need refrigeration is a great way to keep foods cold and using a thermos for hot foods is important and can help prevent foodborne illness.

Be creative and allow your child to help pack his/her lunch and be part of the decision making as to what they are expected to eat throughout the day.  That dreaded trading of food does happen on occasion. However, if their lunches include foods they helped choose, prepare and are excited about, they won’t want to pass it along to their classmates, as they will instead savor it all for themselves! 

Last but not least….. Hiding a note inside their lunchbox is a sure way to put a smile on their face.  This simple gesture can often be a profound tactic in reminding family and loved ones how much they are thought of and adored every day!


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.

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