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Corvallis Clinic Health Information Blog

Important Science is Happening Right Here

Apr 09, 02:14 PM

Clinical Research Center

Last week I attended the 38th Annual OSU Gerontology Conference at the CH2MHill Alumni Center.  It was a pleasure to meet and interact with others who are making important contributions to the health and well-being of older adults. Now that AARP cards are regularly arriving in my home mailbox, I was particularly delighted to hear about the research being done right here by OSU’s Center for Healthy Aging Research (CHAR).

Presentations by CHAR researchers discussed the connection between vegetables and bone health, new methods to train caregivers in fall prevention, and facilitation of advance-care planning conversations. Keynote speakers were inspiring, experts discussing such older-adult health topics as pain management, joint health, cardiovascular care, and macular degeneration.

I felt great satisfaction while attending a session titled “Geriatric Drug Therapy Update” when it became apparent that the Research Center at The Corvallis Clinic has been or is active in several of these game-changing therapies.  Some of the important clinical trials we’ve contributed to include a vaccine to prevent Clostridium difficile infection (antibiotic-associated diarrhea), atrial fibrillation treatments dabigatran (Pradaxa®) and Edoxaban (Savaysa®), and multiple new classes of drugs for diabetes treatment that help with blood sugar control and weight loss.  Not surprisingly, a big portion of the update presentation discussed new approaches to Alzheimer’s disease treatment.  If you’ve read my previous blogs you already know that the Research Center is thrilled to be participating in the Expedition 3 study to evaluate a potential new treatment for those with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

Not all sessions were quite so clinical, however.  There were sessions discussing the importance of incorporating art, humor, exercise, and natural environments for geriatric well-being.  I even attended a session titled Practical Laughter which turned out to be – I’m not making this up – Laughter Yoga.  In my career I’ve attended many professional seminars and trainings, but I have never been instructed so thoroughly on how to laugh!

If you’d like more information about clinical studies contact Josh at the Clinical Research Center at 541-754-1398, option 7, or send an email to

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

Spring into a healthier you!

Mar 31, 12:01 AM

Spring has finally arrived, and oh how I welcome it!  As we all probably agree, it has definitely been a long cold winter. Spring is a season I anticipate the most.  It brings us longer daylight hours, warmer weather, abundant sunshine, blooming flowers and great excitement for the upcoming summer months. This is also the time of year I deep clean the house, shampoo the carpets, toss out old clothes and organize the closets.  This is all fine and dandy, but what, more importantly, is being overlooked?

Spring is also a great time to jump start your health!   So instead of just focusing on revitalizing your house, focus on what matters most…YOU!!

1. Forego those heavy winter meals. Local farmers markets will soon be available, and with that brings a bounty of new and different seasonal fruits and vegetables. Don’t be afraid to sample unfamiliar foods, as creativity encourages variety, and variety helps eliminate boredom.

2. Make meals matter. Get the entire family involved in planning and preparing a weekly menu.  If possible, shop together and take turns choosing new varieties of fruits and vegetables to eat around the family table.  Sharing meals together as a family is a wonderful way to regroup and create special moments.

3. Purge your pantry. We sort through our closets, so why not our food cupboards as well?  Toss out old and outdated food items, along with packaged and processed foods that are high in sodium, fat, sugar … and names you cannot pronounce.  Refill your pantry with foods as our forefathers did – straight from MotherEarth, as these unadulterated foods most likely are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, as well as low in fat, salt and sugar.

4. Get active. Now that our days are getting longer and warmer, this is a great time to start engaging in outside activities.  Whether it is a brisk walk, daily run, adventurous hike or working in your garden, any physical activity is better than none at all.  Strive for an exercise plan that gets you up and moving most days of the week.

5.   5. Set goals. It is important to set both long term and short term goals so that you are striving toward an accomplishment that will provide you pleasure.  Be sure to create goals that are obtainable in a reasonable amount of time.  Once the accomplishments are met and the rewards are recognized, that in itself will be an encouragement to carry you further.

For more information on seasonal fruits and vegetables, check out these two websites:

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.

Research Study Patient Screening Process

Mar 24, 02:38 PM

Clinical Research Center

A clinical study follows a strict set of directions, called a protocol. The protocol includes a list of inclusion criteria volunteers must meet in order to qualify for the study; there is also a corresponding list of exclusion criteria that can exclude a volunteer from the study. The inclusion/exclusion criteria serve to find volunteers appropriate for the condition being studied who can safely participate in the study.    

Once a volunteer has undergone the Informed Consent process (to be discussed in a future blog!), the next step is a thorough review of the volunteer’s medical history. The status of many, but not all, of the inclusion/exclusion parameters can be determined by this chart review. Additional evaluations, to determine volunteer eligibility and safety, are required. Typically, this will include a physical exam with the study doctor in addition to routine blood work, an EKG and perhaps, depending on the treatment being studied, more specialized testing such as a chest x-ray or a breathing test. 

Completing all of the requirements for screening can be a lengthy process and sometimes, for the comfort of the volunteer, the screening process will be broken into multiple shorter visits rather than one very long visit. The practical side of this from the volunteer’s perspective is that there are frequent visits to the Research Center at the beginning of the study, maybe as many as three visits during the screening process.  

The screening process is complete once the study doctor determines the volunteer’s eligibility in the context of the study parameters and volunteer safety.  If the volunteer is eligible (and desires to continue), the volunteer is included in the study. In research-speak, this means the volunteer is randomized into the trial and will now receive the study treatment. Throughout the trial the health of randomized volunteers is monitored very closely by the study doctor and the rest of the research team.

Sometimes interested volunteers are found to be ineligible for the study. In research-speak, this is known as a screen failure. Volunteers who undergo the full screening process are usually compensated with a stipend for their time but more importantly, their participation and subsequent screen failure may be beneficial in the design of future clinical trial protocols. Also, there are sometimes advantages to the patient for having undergone the screening; see my earlier blog titled Sometimes a Screen Failure is Not a Failure.

As always, if you need more information about clinical studies contact Josh at the Clinical Research Center at 541-754-1398, option 7, or send an email to

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

Exploring The Taste of New Flavors

Mar 17, 01:00 AM

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s focus is exploring new food flavors and to “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”  We all have times when it’s not easy to find time to eat healthy, let alone to try new recipes or make lifestyle changes. So here are a few tips to help lead in you the right direction:

·         Select one new food item each week while at the grocery store.  Instead of racing through the isles with a set mission in mind, take time to notice new foods, particularly in the produce department, that you may otherwise overlook.  It is amazing how we now have easy access to foods from all around the world.

·         Incorporate one new recipe into your weekly meal plan.  Better yet, take turns having a member of the family choose one new side dish or entrée each week and allow them to help you shop and prepare and serve it.

·         Use traditional favorite recipes, but spice them up and create new. If you’re not in the mood to try something totally new and unfamiliar, simply grab an old favorite recipe and kick it up a notch by adding different ingredients.  Experimenting with spices is an extremely easy way to dramatically change the taste of any meal.

·         Cook one day, but feed for three.  Cook a larger than usual main food item, and transform it into several days of entirely different meals.  For example, I made slow cooked pulled pork. The first night I served it over pasta, the second evening was pork and pineapple tacos, and the third supper was pulled pork and cabbage slaw sandwiches.  Each meal was very unique, offering a drastically different flavor and texture, yet was assembled and served literally within minutes!  

·         Get the family involved.   Encouraging all family members to be involved with meal planning and preparation not only helps the designated cook, but is a great way for families to all come together at the end of the day.  These will often be memorable and treasured times for years to come, and what better way to educate, spend precious time together, pass along family recipes and secrets as well as to engage the entire family in what might otherwise be deemed as simply a “daily chore.” 

Remember, not only are meals important nutritionally, but they can be a great foundation for teaching family members how to be engaged and work as a team, learn and establish good eating habits, and gather together at the end of the day to reflect, connect and be thankful. After all, isn’t this what life is all about?

Click here for more information about National Nutrition Month.

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.

Expedition 3 Alzheimer’s Research Study Underway

Mar 11, 01:59 PM

Clinical Research Center

The Expedition 3 Alzheimer’s disease study, evaluating a potential new treatment for patients with mild Alzheimer’s, is underway! I first wrote about this exciting clinical trial in early November 2013. As clinical trials go, this study was fairly complex to set up, but  the team was assembled by late December and now all systems are go!

The treatment being tested is solanezumab. The clinical trial is designed to determine if solanezumab treatment can slow the progression of the physical changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

The Research Center enrolled the first Expedition 3 study volunteer December 30 and administered the first treatment dose 3 ½ weeks later. Dr. Richard Lafrance, recently retired from Clinic practice and currently a part-time neurohospitalist, will continue to serve as the study’s principle investigator. Neurologists Dr. Cecelia Keller and Dr. Shelly Svoboda are also involved with the research project.

At this point the Research Center has spoken with many potential volunteers and/or their family members about the study. Virtually everyone, even patients who have chosen not to participate , express their fervent hope that the Expedition 3 study provides a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This hope was best expressed by a study volunteer’s family member who stated that if the disease could be halted now, while it is still mild, he and his wife could have a good life. 

The hard part of course, is that we must be patient – we won’t know the results of the study for a few more years. If you are interested in learning more about the Expedition 3 study, contact Josh at the Clinical Research Center at 541-754-1398, option 7, or send an email to

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