Recently, we have started recruiting type 2 diabetics for one of our longest (and most highly paying) studies on record. The clinical trial got off to a start earlier this month when 2 lovely chaps checked in for their first residential stay. I caught up with them to find out what they thought of the experience so far, and what made them decide to become volunteers in clinical research.
Douglas and Peter are looking very relaxed when I track them down on their second day on study, with one of our largest bedrooms to themselves.
Douglas tells me ‘I recently retired and I’ve got used to spending a lot of time relaxing since then. The only problem is I’m now climbing up the walls! I’ve run out of walls to climb up at home, so I started looking for something useful to do with my time. When I saw this advertised, I thought it seemed a much more worthwhile thing to do than washing cars or anything like that!’
Both men are in agreement that this sense of doing something which could improve healthcare for others was what motivated them to call us – much more so than the monetary reward. The two of them joke that they’re hoping to win a Nobel prize for their contribution to science.
I asked them about their experience of being diagnosed and living with type 2 diabetes, and it’s a subject which they seem to make light of: ‘I found out I was diabetic after I went to the Doctor with a rash on my leg’, says Peter ‘I’ve always been prone to mosquito bites, so I thought that I must have fleas. Imagine my surprise when the Dr told me I’d been eating too much chocolate! Fortunately, I have been able to manage the condition by making changes to the way I eat, and since then I haven’t had many other serious symptoms’
Douglas adds ‘I found out about my diabetes in a routine check-up, and like Peter I haven’t had any symptoms which have worried me too much. To be honest, it was more of a nuisance than anything else to begin with. I felt fine, but I was always having to attend this appointment here and that appointment there. After a while, I started to ignore the letters from my Doctor and all the reminders I was getting. I just sort of acted like it wasn’t happening.
‘When my granddaughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it completely changed my attitude. Although Type 1 and Type 2 are different, my concern for her made me more aware of what could go wrong if this was left untreated and gave me more respect for the condition. I’ve put a lot more effort into controlling my diabetes since then.’
This study has a number of non-invasive but unusual procedures, and the gentlemen tell me what they’ve been up to since checking in. We compare notes about the Human Appetite Lab (which I’ve experienced myself as part of our clinicians’ staff training), and I think it’s clear that they’d rather sit and talk to each other at mealtimes than sit in separate small white rooms.
‘The best bit so far has been the BodPod’, Peter tells me. ‘It was a bit like sitting inside a giant eggshell.’ The BodPod is a body scanner which is used to accurately measure body constitution. ‘I thought it was going to be an ordeal and that I’d be in this little chamber for half an hour or so, but it only took a few minutes. But if a few minutes had been too much for me, it’s good to know that there was a panic button in there’ the two of them laugh.
‘Next visit, we’re going on the treadmill, which will be a first for me’ says Douglas ‘They always remind me of Peter Kay in the video for Amarillo’. All volunteers on this study will be asked to use a treadmill for 10 minutes at 5km/h (a brisk walking pace). Peter adds ‘I’ve run on a treadmill, but this will be the first time I’ve walked on one.’
It’s good to hear that, from the start, this trial has been a positive experience for them both ‘I feel like I know more about my diabetes now than I did when I came in.’ Peter tells me ‘My blood sugar is being tested regularly, and I feel like I’ve got a better understanding of what the highs and the lows mean’.
Is it measuring up to their expectations?
‘I don’t think we had any idea what to expect, we’re just going along with things!’ says Peter
‘Everyone has been really friendly and professional, so I feel confident and safe in their hands. They’re great at telling us what we need to do, and we like that’
Douglas adds ‘Mostly it’s women telling us what to do, and I’m very used to that!’
These 2 will be visiting the clinic a total of 19 times between now and early 2017, so it’s good to see that they’re already bouncing off each other like a real double act.
‘We are going to be seeing a lot of each other, so of course it’s good to know you’ve met someone you can have a smile and a laugh with’ says Peter.
I asked would they be happy to share the Nobel prize with each other?
If you have any questions, or you would like to take part in this study, call us on 0113 394 5200 or apply here .