Five reasons to take part in research
Each year, on 20th May we celebrate International Clinical Trials Day, as this is believed to be the date when the first ever clinical trial took place.
While the current COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed the way we interact around research and clinical trials, it has also shown more than ever that the inclusion of a broad range of patients and members of the public in scientific research is fundamental to its success, and to ensuring that studies are carried out with patient needs in mind.
Here at the NIHR Newcastle BRC, we focus on improving lives of people here in the North East, and beyond, through targeted research into ageing syndromes, long-term conditions and multimorbidity. To do this we rely on the participation of people of all ages from right across the region and, to celebrate this, we want to share our top five benefits to being involved in clinical trials:
- Older people are major users of healthcare, but few older people take part in clinical trials. By taking part, you can help make sure that the needs of older people are represented
- People who take part in trials get very close medical attention, and often have access to the latest treatments before they become widely available
- Taking part in clinical trials is a way to contribute to your health service. Without research, we would have no tests and no treatments
- By taking part in trials, you help to ensure that we know whether a treatment benefits people just like you. If only young or healthy people take part, we don’t know whether treatments are right for you or other people like you
- Not all trials are about new treatments. Testing what we do routinely is also important, and by taking part you help to show what treatment are not useful and can be stopped.
Miles Witham, Professor of Trials for Older People and our Deputy theme lead for Ageing Syndromes, focusses on improving access to trials for people who need it most, including designing and supporting scientific studies which allow older people to take part more easily. He says:
“Older people are typically underrepresented in research, but as we know through our dedicated focus on ageing syndromes, research to improve treatments for a growing older population is vital, if we are to ensure treatments available in the NHS are fit for key users of the service”.
Meeting clinical needs with research
It is predicated that the number of people aged 85 and over will continue to increase over the next 20 years, so demands on the health service related to care for older people will rise. What’s more, the stark disparities in health in later life between older people in the south and north, mean that an additional pressure will be felt in areas where people are already at a disadvantage. This is one area we’re working hard to change at the NIHR Newcastle BRC, and our Deputy Lead for Ageing Syndromes, Professor Miles Witham is key to this – watch the short video above to find out more.
While the current health landscape restricts normal research activity for now, we would be keen to keep in touch so we can let you know about future trials and activities that you could take part in. If you are interested in keeping in touch about this, please sign up with VOICE who share opportunities of this kind with their members, as they arise.
For more information about all NIHR funded studies, visit the Be Part of Research website