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Trust celebrates International Clinical Trials Day

The Royal Berkshire Hospital celebrated International Clinical Trials Day on Friday 18 and Monday 21 May with a number of information stands to help raise awareness of the work they do. The Trust is running over 200 research projects at any one time in a variety of specialties.


The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust is part of the Thames Valley and South Midlands Clinical Research Network, and is one of the top five highest recruiting district general hospitals in England for clinical research, continually striving to increase the health and wellness of the community through research.


Participating in health research helps develop new treatments, improve the NHS and save lives. Patients are encouraged to ask their doctor about research opportunities and view trials seeking volunteers at the UK Clinical Trials Gateway at www.ukctg.nihr.ac.uk.


Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world by Clinical Research Professionals to help raise trial awareness and to honour research by recognising patient, public and staff contributions to public health and medical progress.


It is held in May each year, in recognition of James Lind, who started what is often considered the first randomised clinical trial aboard a ship in May 1747.


The HMS Salisbury of Britain’s Royal Navy fleet was patrolling the English Channel at a time when scurvy is thought to have killed more British seamen than French and Spanish arms.


Aboard this ship, surgeon mate James Lind, a pioneer of naval hygiene, conducted what many refer to as the first clinical trial. Acting on a hunch that scurvy was caused by putrefaction of the body that could be cured through the introduction of acids, Lind recruited 12 men for his ‘fair test’.


Lind trialled six different treatments for a period of fourteen days. The six treatments were: 1.1 litres of cider; twenty-five millilitres of elixir vitriol (dilute sulphuric acid); 18 millilitres of vinegar; half a pint of sea water; two oranges and one lemon (although this treatment only lasted six days, as the supply of oranges and lemons ran out); and a medicinal paste made up of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root and gum myrrh.


Those who were given the citrus fruits experienced “the most sudden and good visible effects,” according to Lind’s report on the trial.


Though Lind, according to The James Lind Library, might have left his readers “confused about his recommendations” regarding the use of citrus in curing scurvy, he is “rightly recognised for having taken care to ‘compare like with like’, and the design of his trial may have inspired and informed future clinical trial design”.

21 May 2018


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