Features January, 2012 Issue

Making Sense of Clinical Trials

Making Sense of Clinical Trials

You need to understand how medical treatments are developed before you can gauge the implications of the latest research studies.

News reports abound with details about research studies involving new drugs or medical breakthroughs that offer hope for future treatments or cures. The problem is in interpreting the results and ascertaining if, when, and how they will affect you. Clinical trials don’t come with a handy explanatory guide, so you’re left to weigh the implications and discuss them with your doctor. “Clinical trials can be pretty technical,” says Chad Deal, MD, head of the Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease at Cleveland Clinic. “It’s not always easy for physicians to look at a study and decide how valid it is and how it can be applied to their patient population.”

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