The Rewards of Participating in a Clinical Trial

A clinical trial is defined by the National Library of Medicine as ‘a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions.’

| Feb 1, 2006

I have always been fascinated by scientific research and public participation in the process. My pregnancy has offered me many opportunities to be a research participant myself.

I have never had the opportunity to participate in this process until now. Last fall, I took part in a clinical trial dealing with the regeneration of insulin-producing cells during pregnancy. I am also a participant in the TRIGR trial, which is studying the role of breastfeeding and the introduction of cow’s milk products to infants with a type 1 family connection.

I have chosen to participate in these trials because I want to be a part of the solution to diabetes. Even though I am not equipped to work in the laboratory, examining cells and finding answers, I can still be a part of the process.

You Can Take Part, Too

Think about our heroes, Dr. Banting and Dr. Best. What would they have done without their colleague and friend, Leonard Thompson, the first person to test insulin? Thompson’s life was extended dramatically because he participated in clinical research. Although there were risks and bumps in the road, his contribution will never be forgotten.

A clinical trial is defined by the National Library of Medicine as “a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions.” There are several types of trials, from interventional to observational, and the requirements for participants vary widely. Some might require anything from pregnancy (sorry, guys) to age factors, to race, to a specific environment. The criteria are set forth as necessary to help answer specific questions and are never intended to be discriminatory or offensive.

Participation is a very personal decision. There are always benefits and risks. The National Library of Medicine, with the National Institutes of Health, has established a Web site to help inform the public about clinical research and opportunities for public participation. On the site,, they note the following:


  • Play an active role in your own health care
  • Gain access to new treatments before they are widely available
  • Obtain expert medical care at leading healthcare facilities
  • Help others by contributing to research


  • There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects
  • The experimental treatment may not be effective
  • The protocol may require more time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment

For More Information

The Web site is a fascinating resource. Even if you are not interested in participating, I urge you to browse the site. The information and education it offers are empowering. At a glance, I found over 500 ongoing trials relating to diabetes. The site currently lists approximately 23,500 clinical studies of all kinds in their database.

If you don’t have diabetes but are interested in playing a part in diabetes research, there are opportunities for you, as well. You can even consider offering your time and body to research in memory of someone you care about. It would certainly make for a unique valentine gift.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Columns, Diabetes, Diabetes, Insulin

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.