Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Importance of Clinical Trials for Medical Research and Drug Development

The advancement of medicine in the United States and around the world would be a far cry from what it is today without the use of clinical trials. Testing is perhaps the most important process for medication; it needs to be tested to make sure it’s safe.

There are other reasons in addition to medication testing where clinical trials are useful. They can be conducted to test new or updated equipment, techniques, etc. Medical researchers are interested in the minute details and use clinical trials as a way of gathering information.

Some studies will let just about anyone in perfect health to join. Others require you to have a certain medical condition in order to enroll. This is known as inclusion criteria. There are often several of these eligibility requirements that need to be met before starting.

Additionally, there are often disqualifying conditions known as exclusion criteria. These inclusion and exclusion requirements are put in place for not only to insure integrity of the study, but more importantly to not impose additional or known health risk to the subject.

Women who are pregnant are almost always excluded from clinical trials of drugs for safety reasons. This may even extend to all women of childbearing age or even men who may impregnate a women.

The trial coordinator will make sure you are genuinely eligible before allowing you to enroll. They will also inform you of potential risks and other details specific to the study you are interested in.

Subjects are required to undertake a medical screening to be considered for a medical research trial. Tests vary from trial to trial.

Many clinical trials offer compensation while you are a subject in a research study. This is especially true in Phase I drug trials where the subject is exposed to health risks while not necessarily seeking improvement of a specific condition.

Other trials, usually those regarding specific health problems, don’t pay as much or will only pay a small amount for travel compensation. The reason for this is to make sure that trial seekers are interested in improving whatever problem they have and maintain the integrity of the trial.

Don’t be afraid to ask your the trial coordinator any questions you may have. Also don’t be afraid to express any concern you may have. It’s also a good idea to let your doctors know about any clinical trials you’re thinking about taking part in.

Non-Human Primates in Medical Research

Animals continue to be extensively used as research specimen in almost every major medical breakthrough. Utility of animals in medical research has been widely acknowledged. A wide variety of animal species are used for research that range from fruit flies to non-human primates. Research using non-human primates is required for testing drugs, clinical trials, neurology studies, evolution, genetics, behavioral aspects, reproductive biology, cognitive science and even in Xenotransplantation. An estimated 65,000 non-human primates are used annually for research purpose in UK and USA alone.

Use of non-human primates is significant as their brains share structural and functional similarity with the human brain. Most commonly used non-human primates for research purpose include apes, gorilla, chimpanzee, macaques, marmosets, baboons and orangutans. However, the use of non-human primates has always been controversial as it is related with ethical issues.

As per the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human interests are protected by the law as they are considered legal persons. Non-human primates do not enjoy any such privilege. However, this status has always been a continuous topic of debate. Considering research on primates as unethical, various countries including Australia, Sweden, New Zealand and Netherlands have prohibited doing any kind of experimental using great apes, a biological family that comprises of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and humans. Considering the fact that animals do have a similar sense of pain and trauma as like humans, several organizations, animal rights groups, philanthropists, animal lovers, researchers, philosophers and primatologists are advocating for a world wide prohibition over the use of primates in research.

Skin Conditions, Mental Health And Natural Therapies

There is no doubt that some people with skin conditions suffer not only from the sometimes debilitating skin eruption but also mentally as well. This is very evident if the skin condition presents itself in an area clearly visible to the public. These skin conditions compounded with other stressful factors in ones life such as adolescence can create mental scars that last a lifetime.

Common skin afflictions that tend to cause the greatest amount of anxiety are Acne, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Eczema. Whilst there is allot of medical research into the causes of these afflictions, most medical practitioners will treat the skin condition with prescription medications with varying degrees of success. It is rare that the practitioner will go to the next step and insure the mental state of the patient or suggest alternate natural therapies outside standard medical practice. Practitioners need to be holistic in their approach especially if a patient presents and is vulnerable mentally, such as during adolescence and the case of Acne.

Isolation and rejection in the community can result from the visible manifestations of these skin conditions. Psoriasis, Dermatitis, and Eczema to the non medical eye can be extremely visually confronting. The natural human reaction for self preservation causes people to back away or engage little with a person whom appears to have a strange illness for fear of contracting it themselves. When the disease is manifested in a child or adolescent, and they encounter peers at school and social events, these children can be treated extremely harshly and alienated from the group. This rejection is often the catalyst the emotional issues relating from the skin condition.

It is not uncommon to see people with skin conditions present with mental and emotional problems, like anxiety, stress and depression arising from alienation and non acceptance in their social sphere.

So how could these skin conditions be handled to effect the best holistic outcome? There are two main avenues open to a patient. Standard medical prescriptions and natural therapy. As numerous skin conditions have no known cause or trigger it is often a case of hit and miss on the prescription of medications. Holistically the patient should be reviewed and natural therapies explored in conjunction with traditional medicine. Natural therapies such as balneotherapy (soaking or bathing) with pure Dead Sea Salts which are thousands of years old are often underestimated and offer assistance and help in the healing process. The minerals and “de-stressing” characteristics carried out in balneotherapy have been proven in many studies to be beneficial to many skin ailments. It has long been know that the skin – the bodies largest organ can rapidly absorb minerals which are thought to boost the skins regenerating capabilities. Also the act of soaking also allows the patient to relax and reduce anxiety which inturn assists both the skin condition and the mental state.

The patient should also be reviewed and referred for professional assessment if anxiety, depression or mental issues present especially if the skin condition is chronic in nature.

In summary the medical community needs to embrace the natural health alternatives and suggest these “do no harm” options to their patients. This supplemented with prescription medication will serve the patient in the best possible way.

Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids Used For Joint Health And Are They Effective?

Omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health is gaining in popularity as ever more people are opting for healthy, natural remedies over dangerous side effects laden pharmaceutical drugs.

The question is: do omega 3 fatty acids benefit joint health, stiffness, and aches and pains?

Although numerous studies have been done, and not all of them conclusive, overall it appears that omega 3 fatty acids does help alleviate tender joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

This may actually help people who were relying on corticosteroids to reduce what they need to use.

Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in high quality fish oils, act as anti-inflammatories which, as anyone with arthritis or stiffness knows, is often caused or worsened by inflammation of the joints.

Even though omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health derived from fish oils can be useful, there is another natural substance that has been proven to be much more beneficial.

What is this natural substance?

It’s the green lipped mussel from New Zealand. In that country it is renowned, but less well known in the United States even though it can be purchased or obtained by people in the US.

Green lipped mussel also contains omega 3 fatty acids. In addition to certain studies of people using omega 3 fatty acids showing reduced morning joint aches, and joint tenderness, green lipped mussel has been shown to alleviate joint stiffness, improve walking pace in people with osteoarthritis, and increase the strength of grip for sufferers.

Some of these studies have been mentioned at prestigious universities in the United States, such as the University of Maryland Medical Center: is one of the pages if you’re curious.

One downside reported at the University of Maryland Medical Center website is that in some participants using green lipped mussel, the symptoms can worsen temporarily before they improve. Which is a common trait with remedies for other conditions as well.

On the other hand, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that omega 3 fatty acids may “reduce the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage” when “cartilage-containing cells” were studied in test tubes.

If you are curious enough to think omega 3 fatty acids used for joint health is something you might want to try, our recommendation would be to find a product that contains both purified omega 3 fish oils and New Zealand green lipped mussel.

And, in addition to possible benefits for joint health and stiffness, omega 3 fatty acids have numerous well researched benefits for heart and brain health as well.