Clinical and observational trials help further medical and other research — and you can be part of that.

Whether the research is for medical treatments or observing preferences and behaviors, volunteers are needed. There are easy ways to become involved (and sometimes be paid) in trials through BioPharma and the MU School of Medicine.

For example, MU is recruiting for a clinical trial to observe the effects of a cognitive behavioral therapy and sleep hygiene education on veterans who have insomnia and an alcohol-use disorder.

Volunteers in the study will receive the therapy intervention and be observed to see how it affects them. Upcoming trials and recruiting information can be on clinicaltrials.gov, an aggregation of the National Institutes of Health U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The site can be filtered in a number of ways, including age, sex, study type and university or institution.

Here are steps to take to find and select studies for participation:

Step 1: Pick a type of study

Two types of studies lend themselves to research trials. Observational studies are ones that observe reactions or preferences, according to an article on Biochemia Medica’s website. Interventional studies look at direct effects of a specific drug or treatment.

Both kinds are offered during the year through Columbia-based research organizations. Prospective participants can apply to be part of any trial where they meet the requirements.

The conditions for participation are listed on websites where clinical trials are listed. Currently, a study about the popular fermented tea drink kombucha and its effects on blood sugar levels is being conducted at MU through the School of Medicine. Participants will be placed in control groups and drink either kombucha, tea or water over a two-month period.

Another study on weight stigma and its relationship to overeating. The researchers are looking for healthy individuals between 18 and 55 with a body mass index of 25–35. They will read weight-stigma articles and then be scanned for MRI data.

One more study is looking at the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy in those with chronic widespread pain and insomnia. They are seeking those who experience extensive pain and insomnia.

Step 2: Pick a location

The second step to getting involved in a trial is to find studies you are looking to participate in. These are possibilities in Columbia:

• BioPharma Services Inc., 300 Portland St., offers a wide variety of tests for potential participants.

• The School of Medicine at MU focuses on finding out the effects of medical treatments on patients to better care for those who need it.

Step 3: Apply to volunteer

If you chose to participate at BioPharma Services Inc., you can apply on its website under the volunteer tab. Once on that volunteer page, you can choose what kind of study you’d like to participate in and the sections will guide you through applying.

It is important to note that because BioPharma is a global research organization, some of their studies will not be conducted locally. When looking through the clinical study options, the location will be listed in the information box with the study number.

If you want to volunteer at the MU School of Medicine, you can call either 884-1925 or 888-280-5002 to acquire information about specific studies going on at that time. Those call lines will guide you to the application processes for the different studies.

  • Community reporter, spring 2020. Studying arts and culture magazine writing. Reach me at mmrxdt@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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