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The Importance of Women in Clinical Research

Clinical research is an area of medicine that tests new medical techniques, drugs and other treatments. Without it, our knowledge of medicine doesn’t improve and the treatments patients are offered for their health problems don’t change. As such it’s an essential part of the changing medical landscape.

Every piece of medical research that uses clinical trials needs many different people working on it. They include researchers, nurses, doctors and administrative staff. But perhaps the most important of all participants are the volunteers who take part and who, by giving their time, help all of us in the process.

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A recent report issued by the Connors Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at George Washington University in Washington however highlighted a real risk for the future of women’s health because there is often a gender bias that means more men than women participate in the clinical trials being carried out.

There could be many reasons for this, but one significant factor worth highlighting is that in many instances, women taking part in a clinical trial must be post-menopausal or what is called surgically sterile. In other words they can’t have any more children. Such restrictions mean that the numbers of women who are willing and able to take part in studies is seriously reduced. This is why the Hysterectomy Association have been working with Covance in Leeds to increase the awareness of the benefits of participating in clinical trials amongst women.

Of course, it is important to be aware that there are risks to participation in a clinical trial. Medical testing in the UK is very heavily regulated as the safety of the volunteers is always given the highest priority by researchers. This is one of the reasons that volunteers receive compensation for any inconvenience they may experience, and also the time they have given. Since the length of time a clinical trial can take place varies, payments made to participants can range between £500 and £3,000.

Covance has been conducting around 20 clinical trials every year from their base in Leeds since 1986, and they have a reputation for the highest standards of excellence within the medical test industry. With the help of their volunteers they have made some real and significant changes to medical science; giving people across the world access to more effective drugs and treatments.

Because of the shortage of suitable women to take part in clinical trials they are actively looking for those who are post-menopausal, surgically sterile or who have had a hysterectomy. To find more about how you could participate and make a difference to someone else’s life please visit the Covance website to browse the list of studies currently taking place.

(Please note that this is a sponsored post by Covance Clinical Research Unit).

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman

Transformational coach and founder of the Hysterectomy Association. Professionally I'm an information scientist who specialises in the adoption and engagement of digital technologies. I am a writer and author of nine books to date, and I've edited a further seven; phew what a lot for a Thursday afternoon :-)

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