For Melanie Modlin, volunteering to take part in a clinical trial was a gift she was happy to give. Modlin, who is Deputy Director of Communications and Public Liaison at the National Library of Medicine, participated in a clinical research trial studying the impact of changes in hormone levels on cognitive (thinking) ability and sleep patterns. She spoke recently with Christopher Klose, NIH MedlinePlus magazine Coordinator.
Why did you volunteer to be in a clinical trial?
I've always been interested in public service, in volunteering, and wanted to contribute, in some small way, to science.
Were you suffering some rare illness?
No. I was perfectly healthy.
What happened in the study?
It was quite intensive. I had to keep a detailed diary of my moods, did two treadmill tests with frequent blood draws, and checked in at the NIH Clinical Center for two 24-hour periods with no sleep.
How to Participate
If you would like to participate in a clinical trial, you can find more information at government Web sites, such as:
- www.cancer.gov/search/clinicaltrials (Cancer studies)
MenuItem=ClinicalTrials (HIV and AIDS studies)
- www.childrenandclinicalstudies.nhlbi.nih.gov (A Web site about children and clinical trials, sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
Were you concerned at any time?
No. I had total confidence in the researchers because of the care they took and their devotion to detail. First, I was given a complete physical examination and a complete blood analysis. Then we had a two-hour briefing about the trial – how long it would take, what would happen and who would be taking care of us. I felt perfectly safe. Also, as with all clinical studies, I had the right to withdraw for any reason, at any time.
How do you feel about clinical trials?
First, I feel so lucky to be healthy. I had a sister who died of cancer, so I believe it is very important for healthy people to help. We have a role to play in helping find new, more effective treatments that can save lives. What could be better than that?