Monthly Archives: November 2019

Medical Research Questions Answered

Controversy and the medical industry have long been bedfellows. This was been the case since the days when morphine was an indispensable ingredient in children’s cough mixture and mercury was the panacea that cured everything from a grazed knee to cancer of the colon. A controversial issue that is in and out of the news these days is paid medical research performed on volunteers. Many people believe that it exploits those who struggle to support their families or those who find themselves in strange countries and are struggling to survive economically. Proponents of the practice, however, believe that it is vital to gain necessary insight into the functioning of new drugs. Supporters also claim that the volunteers are well informed of the process before hand and are simply reimbursed for their time and inconvenience. They are not paid for risks taken.

Advertisements for volunteers often make it sound like participating in medical research is the most fun that you can have, barring that dream that you have about flying. They emphasise that the demand is great for paid research and highlight all of the possible things that you can do with the extra money. They draw attention to the fact that most clinics have comfortable features so that you can relax, play pool, watch TV, and catch up on your reading. They make it sound as if it’s like going on a short holiday that ultimately benefits mankind.

Before you can register as a volunteer for medical research, you have to fill in a registration form that requires your personal details as well as details about your current and medical health. They want to know if you currently suffer from afflictions like asthma, seasonal heyfever, hepatitis or liver problems, neurological problems, thyroid problems, irritable bowel syndrome, depression or if you have ever tried to commit suicide. Your body mass index is important, as is your blood pressure. Additional required information includes: whether or not you take regular medication, are a smoker, drink regularly, or use recreational drugs. Volunteers are also asked about dietary habits, and, if they are female, what their child bearing statuses are. Anyone from 18-85 years old can qualify.

The length of each research study depends on the registration outcome and can range from a few hours to 5 months or more. If you don’t have the time for lengthy trials there are studies that take place on outpatient visits. There are also weekend studies, which may suit students or full-time workers.

All trials have to be approved by the Ethics Committee before they can begin and all doctors are bound by the Declaration of Helsinki guidelines for conducting medical research. All drugs are subjected to rigorous tests in pre-clinical trials before they can be given to healthy volunteers. Volunteers are well informed of the drugs that are going to be tested on them, as well as on the possible side effects and risks involved. The side effects are usually minimal, such as drowsiness and headaches. The studies are made as safe and risk free as they can possibly be. Every contingency is planned for.

Volunteers don’t enter the process as lab rats, at the mercy of mad scientists in lab coats. They have rights, one of which is to have the procedure explained to them in full. They sign a consent form to indicate that they understand the procedure and what it is that they are agreeing to do. Volunteers are able to choose the studies that they want to take part in. One of volunteers’ most important rights is to be able to withdraw from any trial at any stage without any justification. This may or may not affect payment depending on the clinic concerned. They also have the right to privacy, and information about their participation in medical research is kept strictly confidential.

There have been cases where medical research has gone horribly wrong. People have been paralysed. Some have even died when all they were supposed to be testing was a harmless aspirin-like drug. However, the cases where the research has benefited the sick and the dying have far outnumbered the casualties of the trials. A few headaches and some drowsiness seems a small price to pay in the search for a drug that could possibly alleviate great suffering, or even cure a terminal illness.

Ebola – An African Epidemic – Health and Medical Issues

In the year 1976, Ebola climbed out of its unknown hiding place, and caused the
death of 340 people. Fear gripped the victims’ faces, and uncertainty tortured
their minds. The people of Zaire waited outside clinics, churches and in their
homes for a treatment of the horrible disease, but there was no cure. They were
forced to watch people die, hoping that they would be saved from the violent
death of the Ebola virus. From the year of 1976 to the present date of 1996,
researchers have searched for origin and cure of the virus. Scientist have
carried out numerous studies and investigations, but no one has been able to
find the right explanations. Prevention of a world wide outbreak lies within the
education of what the virus is capable of doing, how Ebola victims can be
properly treated, and by performing prompt action to isolate the virus before it
has dispersed.

The Ebola virus is a member of a family of RNA viruses know as filoviruses.
Marburg virus and four Ebola viruses: Ebola Zaire, Sudan, Reston and Tai are the
five different viruses that have been known to cause disease in humans, while
Ebola Reston only causes disease within monkeys. Filoviruses are the viruses
responsible for causing viral hemorrhagic fevers. All forms of virus of viral
hemorrhagic fever begin with fever and muscle aches. Ebola Zaire attacks every
organ and tissue in the human body except skeletal muscle and bone. It is a
perfect parasite because it transforms virtually every part of the body into a
digested slime of virus particles. The seven mysterious proteins that,
assembled together, make up the Ebola-virus particle work as a relentless
machine, a molecular shark, and they consume the body as the virus makes copies
of itself. Your skin develops blood clots under the skin. Your organs turn to
mush and the underlayers of your skin die and liquefy. The !
skin bubbles up to form a blood rash. Your mouth bleeds, and you bleed around
your teeth, and you may have hemorrhages from the salivary glands. Every
opening in your body, no matter how small, excretes blood. The surface of the
tongue turns brilliant red and then falls off. It is swallowed or spat out when
you vomit up blood. Your heart bleeds in itself and you are not dead. Blood
gets into your eyelids and you weep blood. Before you finally die your body
twitches considerably from grand mal seizures.

Dental Health and Medical Conditions – Six Serious Medical Consequences of Poor Oral Health

All too often news reports quote some recent study that has identified another food, habit, exposure, or activity that will cause a medical problem leading to an early demise. I generally don’t worry about newly announced threats because I choose a healthy lifestyle of moderation in all things.

Then I heard that even though I feel no symptoms, my mouth could be quietly attacking many areas of my body with deadly germ warfare. This alarmed me because it does make sense that whatever we swallow will have an effect on the health of our bodily systems, so I did a little internet research of my own.

It all begins with gingivitis (early gum disease), which left untreated advances to periodontitis. According to The American Association of Periodontists, an estimated 35 percent of the population age 30 and over has periodontitis, yet many people do not even realize they have it. Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.

Periodontal disease may be silent but it can be deadly, having far more serious health ramifications than the tooth loss we’ve heard about before. It has now been shown that bacteria from dental gum disease can travel to other parts of the body and cause serious health concerns such as:

1. Heart Disease

Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without periodontal disease. Studies indicate that periodontal disease may foster the development of clogged arteries and blood clots when oral bacteria get into the blood stream. Periodontal disease also has been known to exacerbate existing heart conditions.

2. Stroke

Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. These studies reported that inflammatory effects from periodontal disease could cause oral bacterial byproducts to enter the bloodstream and trigger the liver to make proteins that inflame arteries. These effects may cause blood clots that contribute to clogged arteries leading to strokes.

3. Respiratory Infections

Bacterial respiratory infections are thought to be acquired through aspiration (inhaling) of fine droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs. These droplets contain germs that can breed and multiply within the lungs to cause pneumonia and lung damage.

Aspirating periodontal bacteria is especially threatening to people who suffer from the serious chronic respiratory condition known as COPD. Periodontal bacteria can increase frequency of COPD bouts of infection.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes has long been known to increase the risk of infections, including severe periodontal disease. A study done in 1999 suggests that the relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes is a true vicious cycle – periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.

Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications.

5. Infertility Treatment Failure

The relationship between periodontal diseases, infertility treatment and reproduction success also appear to go both ways.

Researchers found that women undergoing ovulation induction for infertility treatment for more than three cycles experience higher gingival inflammation, bleeding and gingival crevicular fluid (GCF). These effects are linked to increased levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones.

Not only can the treatment cause gum disease, several studies provide evidence that the presence of gum infection is associated with unsuccessful embryo development and implantation failure in in-vitro fertilization patients.

On a hopeful note, if dental plaque was first removed and then kept at low levels during the infertility treatment, gingival inflammation would be less likely to affect success. Fastidious oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, likely at the beginning of each cycle would be necessary to ensure healthy gums during treatment.

6. Premature Birth

All infections are cause for concern among pregnant women because they pose a risk to the health of the baby. Research shows also that pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be seven times more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small.

More research is needed to confirm exactly how periodontal disease may affect the pregnancy terms. It appears that periodontal disease triggers increased levels of biological fluids that induce labor. Furthermore, data suggests that women whose periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy have an even higher risk of having a premature baby.