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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Welcome to the Flu Zone

Oct 20, 02:20 PM

The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center

The signs of fall are everywhere: kids are back in school; pumpkin spice lattes are being served; preparations for Halloween festivities are underway; we’ve had some rain; and … it’s time to schedule a flu shot. 

Thinking about flu shots makes me wax nostalgic about one of the more exciting studies we’ve ever done at The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center.  In 2009 our site was selected to participate in the clinical study for a new “high-dose” flu vaccine intended for patients 65 and older. The clinical importance of the high-dose flu vaccine (four times the potency of a regular adult flu vaccine) relates to the fact that human immune systems become weaker with age. The objective of the clinical study was to evaluate if the high-dose flu vaccine imparted a bigger “boost” in flu protection.  The Corvallis Clinic physicians were very supportive of our research center’s participation in this study because this promising vaccine had potential to improve patient care. 

The Clinical Research Center was thrilled to participate in the study, but we faced a daunting challenge - the high-dose flu vaccine study required that we find a relatively large number of volunteers in just a few weeks. Our typical research studies usually occur over several months, if not years, so we were definitely feeling the pressure!  However, with an all-hands-on-deck-approach, we mobilized our resources and completed the clinical study on time.

At the conclusion of the clinical study, 101 volunteers in Corvallis and the surrounding area contributed to the research data. These data, along with that of an additional 9000 patients from across the country, were eventually reviewed by the FDA, which approved the vaccine in December 2009. The Corvallis Clinic physicians have been offering the high-dose flu vaccine to patients over 65 since 2010. It is highly satisfying to know that our research center and our amazing community of volunteers contributed to reducing the risk for the age group at highest risk for seasonal influenza complications.

You can read more about the high dose flu vaccine at the Centers for Disease Control website   

And speaking of flu shots …

If you still have not received your flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at The locations and times are as follows:

Asbury Building, 3680 NW Samaritan Drive, noon - 6 p.m., check in at third floor, Sleep Medicine Desk.

  • Oct. 20-24, 27-30,
  • Nov. 3-7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-26

Pediatric and Family Flu Clinic, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., check in at Pediatrics (Asbury Building, 3680 NW Samaritan Drive)

  • Saturday and Sunday - Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 15-16


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



Lives could depend on volunteer "heroes"

Oct 13, 06:00 PM

Clinical Research Center

It’s no secret that “Big Pharma” has a lot of critics. However, in the shadow of the Ebola outbreak, suddenly the critics are less vocal than those demanding innovation and speed in developing Ebola prevention or cures.  By all accounts, pharmaceutical companies with expertise in infectious diseases are responding quickly (Forbes).  Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, an assistant director general at the World Health Organization, stated the pace of testing, and the bypassing of normal protocols to develop the vaccines, is “absolutely unprecedented” (New York Times).  According to Forbes, the upshot of the tragic Ebola outbreak is we’ve demonstrated “medical innovation can move forward more quickly than usual IF government agencies are willing to streamline the process-minimizing roadblocks and red tape.”

Hopefully none of us will be asked to participate in clinical trials for Ebola treatments because these clinical trials must occur in the at-risk population.  But, there are plenty of diseases and clinical trials to go around and advancing those medicines and technologies requires volunteers.  Dr. Joseph Sirven, chairman of neurology at the Mayo Clinic put this very eloquently:

We can’t demand new treatments, assuming someone else has tried them first. If we ever expect to find a cure for any number of horrible diseases, we have to step up. No one chooses to be sick, but sometimes these illnesses choose us. If our time is called to participate in a research study, it’s time to be the hero. Many lives could literally depend on it ( 7/17/14).

It seems we can “fast track” new treatments but advancing new medicines and technology will also depend on availability of willing patient volunteers.  If you’d like to learn more about volunteering for a study, The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to educating and informing the public and patients about clinical research. 

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


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



Advancing Medicines and Technology

Sep 26, 03:45 PM

Clinical Research Center

The Research Center staff and doctors are committed to advancing medicines and technology.  In fact, our doctors are so committed to this goal that they participate in research studies in addition to their regular clinical practices.  Our doctors are motivated because they know clinical research is a vital step in the process of making new treatments available for their patients.  So what kind of new treatments has the Research Center worked on?

Well, do you know anyone with type 2 diabetes?  The Research Center participated in the clinical trials for Januvia® and Bydureon®.  These new medications have replaced older first- and second-generation antidiabetic medications that were associated with numerous side effects.

Chances are you know someone with high cholesterol, especially since the CDC estimates that 1 in 6 Americans has high cholesterol.  Crestor® is one of the first-line treatments for those who require cholesterol lowering drugs when diet and exercise alone are not enough; you guessed it, the Research Center worked on the Crestor® clinical trials.

Let’s talk about preventative health and vaccines.  The Research Center participated in clinical trials for Fluzone® High Dose vaccine, a higher dose flu vaccine for patients who are at greater risk of flu complications.  Our work on Prevnar13® helped introduce a pneumonia vaccine that provides longer lasting immunity to pneumonia-causing organisms than was previously available. 

Do you know anyone who takes blood thinning drugs?  They might be a beneficiary of our work on Pradaxa®.  Alzheimer’s disease patients are benefitting from our work on the Exelon® patch.  Those who have osteoporosis might be receiving Reclast® to improve their bone health and those who suffer from grass allergies have a new treatment option in Grastek®. And yep, we worked on those clinical trials, too. 

The list of new treatments the Research Center has worked on is too long to mention all by name and there are many more new treatments we have worked on that await FDA review.  The Research Center is proud to be part of the scientific medical community committed to advancing medicines and technology.

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

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


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.