Learn More about Clinical Trials

What are clinical trials and why do people participate?
Clinical trials  are part of clinical research  and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Treatments might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, new surgical procedures or devices, or new ways to use existing treatments. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Clinical trials can also look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Healthy volunteers say they participate to help others and to contribute to moving science forward. Participants with an illness or disease also participate to help others, but also to possibly receive the newest treatment and to have the additional care and attention from the clinical trial staff. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future. Continue reading

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Genome-Wide Study Yields Markers of Lithium Response

January 28, 2016 • Science Update

An international consortium of scientists has identified a stretch of chromosome that is associated with responsiveness to the mood-stabilizing medication lithium among patients with bipolar disorder. While the finding won’t have an immediate clinical application, it is a groundbreaking demonstration of the potential for identifying genetic information that can be used to inform personalized treatment decisions, even in genetically complex disorders. The genes identified are also an avenue for understanding the biology of the lithium response.

People with bipolar disorder experience marked, often extreme shifts in mood and energy. The disorder affects an estimated 2.6 percent of Americans. The mood swings can severely disrupt a person’s ability to function normally; as many as 15 percent of those affected die by suicide. Lithium is a mood stabilizing medication that is a mainstay of treatment. For some patients, it is very effective, virtually eliminating the symptoms. However, about a third of patients respond incompletely, and another third not at all. Continue reading

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Long-term Course of ADHD Diagnosed in Preschool Years Can be Chronic and Severe

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that is first diagnosed in the preschool years tends to be chronic and severe, but each child’s course of illness is different, according to long-term follow-up data from the NIMH-funded Preschool ADHD Treatment Study (PATS). The study was published online February 11, 2013, in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Continue reading

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