In the News Today . . .

Have you ever turned on the news and heard the reporter say "In the news today, the newest clinical study reported that..." I'm convinced that on those days the reporters sit down at their computers and go to a resourceful little website called www.clinicaltrials.gov, a registry for clinical trials being conducted.

Have you ever turned on the news and heard the reporter say "In the news today, the newest clinical study reported that . . ."

My translation of that is, "In the news today, there is nothing new, so we've decided to create some news of our own today by reporting on this new clinical study."

I'm convinced that on those days the reporters sit down at their computers and go to a resourceful little website called www.clinicaltrials.gov, a registry for clinical trials being conducted. It has information on what the purpose of the study is, what it involves doing, who can participate, and who to contact for more information. It's mind-boggling to see how many studies are going on at any given time; currently there are 28,686 trials registered in the USA alone.

What's amazing is that for every trial that exists, there are participants willing to take part in them. There really is a study out there for everybody. Are you overweight and drink two cups of coffee a day? Then join the "Effects of Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee on Body Weight and Glucose Tolerance" study. Are you willing to eat milk and dark chocolate for science? Then join the "Polyphenol Bioavailability from Chocolate" study. Do you wear shoes? Then join the "Effect of Wearing the 'Nike Free' Shoe on Isokinetic Muscle Strength of Foot and Ankle and on Proprioception" study.

When I was in college, I used to get MRIs done to help psychology students learn how to observe brainwaves, and because they paid me $25 for it. I had a friend who used to eat antacids for gastrointestinal studies every time he was short on cash. College students will do just about anything to earn a little money, and $25 is a lot of money. Actually, researchers don't have to even offer to pay, just offer some free food. Advertise soggy slices of greasy cheese pizza and you'll have college students lining up around the block. They won't know what they are lining up for, but they'll be there, at least until the food runs out.

And no, the reason I am talking about www.clinicaltrials.gov has nothing to do with it being a slow news day for me, and there is nothing you do to make me say otherwise ... unless of course you're offering a free coke with those two greasy slices of pizza.