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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Update on Global Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Aug 22, 05:02 PM

Clinical Research Center

By Julie Carrico, MBA, CCRC

There are a LOT of exciting things happening in the world of Alzheimer’s disease research and this blog will discuss a few of the most important findings that were recently discussed at the July Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC). 

  • A major clinical study targeting tau protein tangles in the brain, which are thought to damage brain cells, was completed. The drug failed to show any benefit to most patients with mild to moderate disease - disappointing results, to say the least.  However, medical researchers still believe understanding tau proteins are critical to conquering the disease.  The failed study facilitated gaining knowledge about tau proteins and in that regard the data are of great value.
  • Research has demonstrated that certain types of brain exercises, especially a specific type of speed training, are able to reduce the risk of developing dementia.  Additional research is needed to figure out the ideal amount of training and to develop a better understanding of how the training affects the brain.  “If you can reduce the chance of getting dementia by nearly 50 percent with this, that’s huge,” says Michael Roizen, chairman of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, who wasn’t involved in the study.  We agree! 
  • Data have shown that people engaged in complex thinking and who have strong social ties have a lower risk of developing dementia.  In fact, the studies even go so far as to identify jobs that provide the highest – and the lowest – benefit.  One study also suggested that mentally stimulating lifestyles could counteract the mental decline associated with an unhealthy diet and cerebrovascular disease. 
  • New research shows that there might be some indicators of eventual dementia development other than memory loss.   Mild Behavioral Impairment (MBI) may be a precursor to development of Alzheimer's disease.  MBI is characterized by symptoms such as apathy, anxiety, loss of impulse control, flaunting social norms, and loss of interest in food.  New research is aimed at early detection and some data suggests that a person’s sense of smell or sight may be a relatively non-invasive means for early detection.  One immediate benefit of early detection is economic – accurately diagnosed and treated patients cost less to care for; more importantly to family members, these patients have lower mortality rates.

Our team is committed to participating in the Alzheimer’s community and to taking on appropriate Alzheimer’s disease clinical studies as we work to end Alzheimer’s. 

The Clinical Research Center is currently seeking volunteer patients in studies for Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and those with very high triglyceride levels.  

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163, or send an email to research@corvallisclinic.com or fill out our Research Study Information Request form. And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/corvallisclinicresearch.

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


 


Improving lives of psoriasis patients example of why being a research coordinator can be so satisfying

Jul 31, 12:00 PM

Clinical Research Center

By Rita Staples, BA, CCRC

As a research coordinator, nothing is better than seeing your patients become happier and healthier because of their participation in a clinical trial.  So, with August being National Psoriasis Month, I’d like to say that some of the most gratifying moments in my career have come from working with patients with psoriasis. When they have found the right treatment and start to have clear skin, I have seen the joy radiating from them.

Prior to treatment, many of these patients with moderate to severe psoriasis had withdrawn from the world. They were often self-conscious - and in some cases even depressed - because they felt their psoriasis kept people from getting to know them.

One such patient refused to leave the house because of her psoriasis. She said she was embarrassed by people staring and felt like her psoriasis controlled her life. Once she started using the trial drug, her skin cleared up within 12 weeks, and she became a whole new person. She started a new job and began joining local groups, such as book clubs, She even wore a skirt for the first time in 20 years because her legs were finally free of psoriasis.

This is just one example of how treatment received as a clinical-trial volunteer can change a person’s life for the good.

The drug used in this study is called a biologic, a newer medication designed to target more specific immune-system cells that are growing at a hyperactive rate, which causes or contributes to psoriasis.  Biologics can be used in combination with topical treatments if necessary.  The biologic medication used in this trial, Cosentyx®, was eventually approved by the FDA.  

Changing people’s lives for the better, along with seeing your hard work pay off when a drug gets approved, is a constant reminder to me of why research is so vital.

The Clinical Research Center is currently seeking volunteer patients in studies for meningococcal vaccine, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and those with very high triglyceride levels. 

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163, or send an email to research@corvallisclinic.com or fill out our Research Study Information Requestform. And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/corvallisclinicresearch.

- Rita Staples is a Research Coordinator at The Corvallis Clinic Clinical Research Center.


The lowdown on meningitis

Jul 26, 04:52 PM

Clinical Research Center

Almost everyone knows that meningitis is not a good thing – we can all agree it’s a disease with a scary name and should be avoided.  But, just how bad is it? Who is at risk? And more importantly, how can it be avoided?  This article will provide answers to these questions and links to additional information.

Meningitis is the result of an inflammation of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain.  Meningitis is particularly insidious as it can result from a bacterial, viral or fungal infection.  In the U.S., most cases of meningitis are viral and fortunately symptoms are usually mild and resolve on their own.  Fungal meningitis is rare and is not contagious.  On the other hand, bacterial meningitis (which can be caused by several strains of bacteria) is very contagious, can be life-threatening, and must be treated right away with antibiotics to avoid serious health consequences, such as hearing loss, brain damage, seizures, kidney failure, shock and even death.

Bacterial meningitis is most common in people under 20 years old.  One of the main risk factors for meningococcus bacterium infection in this age group is related to living in group settings such as college dormitories, military bases, and sleepover camps.  To protect this vulnerable age group, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the first dose of meningococcal vaccine be given at 11-12 years old, with a booster at age 16.

You won’t need to learn anything new to remember how to avoid meningitis because it’s the same as avoiding seasonal flu: get vaccinated, don’t share personal items, avoid close proximity with infected people, wash your hands thoroughly, boost your immune system with healthy eating, and get prompt treatment if you have been exposed.

The Clinical Research Center is currently seeking volunteer patients in studies for meningococcal vaccine, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and those with very high triglyceride levels. 

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163, or send an email to research@corvallisclinic.com or fill out our Research Study Information Request form. And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/corvallisclinicresearch.

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


Before declining trial participation, patients should consider some facts

Jul 26, 07:00 AM

Clinical Research Center

By Julie Carrico, MBA, CCRC

On occasion, a patient who is approached about participating in a clinical trial will immediately decline without taking the time to find out what it’s all about. The following is what I wish I could tell them before they have made up their mind.

  • Clinical trial volunteers are respected and taken care of. Laws and guidelines are in place to protect them. Volunteers must participate in a thorough Informed Consent process to make sure they understand the study.  
  • Our staff must complete rigorous testing to be qualified to even work on the study. 
  • If the clinical trial is for a serious or life-threatening disease, there will not be a placebo treatment group.  Every patient will receive the minimum standard of care because withholding treatment to those who need it is not ethical.  Patients are informed if the study will have a placebo group.  
  • Volunteers may withdraw from a study at any time, for any reason.
  • Participants continue to see their regular doctor(s) during the study.
  • There is no cost to participate in a clinical trial.  In fact, in a previous blog we describe that there is usually a stipend. Insurance will never be billed for a clinical-trial expense.   

Every trial is not for everybody.  Before automatically declining to participate, take a few moments to think about the study information and perhaps ask a question or two.  You might end up being glad you did, as was this former volunteer:

"Initially I was a little hesitant to take part in a research program, but I believe that was simply because I was in unfamiliar territory. From the start I was put at ease by a wonderful staff and each part of the process was explained in a way that was easily understood. I can say that I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate." – Valerie Coomes Clinical Research participant 

The Clinical Research Center is currently seeking volunteer patients in studies for meningococcal vaccine, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and those with very high triglyceride levels.  

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163, or send an email to research@corvallisclinic.com or fill out our Research Study Information Request form. And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/corvallisclinicresearch.

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

 


Informed Consent - My favorite thing!

Jun 27, 10:30 AM

Clinical Research Center

By Julie Carrico, MBA, CCRC

I’ve been  thinking about that amusing anecdote on social media about a typical day in a dog’s life, where for every event the dog proclaims,  “My favorite thing!” For example: 

  • 8:00 a.m. - Dog food! My favorite thing!
  • 9:30 a.m. - A car ride! My favorite thing! And so on, until the day’s final entry:
  • 11 p.m. - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

This blog is about Informed Consent, which is – you guessed it – my favorite thing! 

One of the first things potential clinical study participants encounter is a document called the Informed Consent.  The following is the official definition of Informed Consent, according to the guideline from the International Conference on Harmonisation, a worldwide advising body for drug research:

A process by which a subject voluntarily confirms his or her willingness to participate in a particular trial, after having been informed of all aspects of the trial that are relevant to the subject's decision to participate. Informed consent is documented by means of a written, signed, and dated informed consent form.

The importance of careful patient review of the Informed Consent document cannot be overstated.  These documents are written in patient-friendly terms so the language is simple and relatively free of medical jargon.  The documents spell out exactly what will happen in the clinical study so there should never be any surprises.  Our site does not allow patients to sign the initial Informed Consent without having a sit-down meeting to discuss it.  If patients are so inclined, we encourage them to share the Informed Consent document with family or trusted friends prior to our sit-down discussion.

And now for my favorite thing!  I love it when patients bring their copy of the Informed Consent to our sit-down meeting and it is a bit battered, has notes scribbled in the margins and maybe a post-it note or two sticking out.  Why is this my favorite thing?  Because it tells me the patient has thoroughly read the Informed Consent, and I know we will have a meaningful discussion about the study, its risks and benefits, and patient responsibilities.  In other words, the patient will make an informed decision about whether or not to participate.  My favorite thing!

The Clinical Research Center is currently seeking volunteer patients in studies for Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes, and those with very high triglyceride levels.  Who knows? Being involved in a research study might turn out to be your favorite thing!

If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials, contact the Clinical Research Center at 541-766-2163, or send an email to research@corvallisclinic.com or fill out our Research Study Information Requestform. And, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/corvallisclinicresearch.

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