Celebrate International Clinical Trials Day – find out how here!

This year Leicester’s Hospitals are doing something slightly different to promote research. They are

James Lind - the father of clinical trials
James Lind – the father of clinical trials
going out into the community.

International Clinical Trials (ICT) Day is an annual event held on 20 May. The date was chosen in recognition of James Lind, a naval surgeon who conducted the first recorded clinical trial on 20 May 1753. Members of Lind’s crew were suffering from Scurvy, which is a disease that causes swollen, bleeding gums and previously healed wounds to open. Lind created a trial where he divided the sailors into different groups and gave them specific items to eat and drink. The group that had been given oranges and lemons had practically recovered in just five days, leading to his theory that citrus fruit – vitamin C – cured the disease.

ICT day was established to celebrate clinical research across the world and to provide a focal point to promote clinical research to members of the public.

So Leicester’s Hospitals got in touch to tell us what they plan to do. Which include

•Opening our doors to the Clinical Research Facility at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Come in, take a tour and take part in a mock trial to show how a research study works in practice
•Visit our stand in the restaurant to talk about children’s research
•Treat yourself to culinary delights with a bake sale to help raise money for cancer research in the Osborne building
•And visit us in Beaumont Leys!

Would you consider taking part in a clinical trial? Why not take part in our poll on the subject here.

If you know of any events to celebrate

Vitamin C – health benefits and a great way to save money.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C

We have been running a set of blogs looking at Vitamins and their importance for our health.  To have a look at the previous blogs in the series please see the link below; http://patienttalk.org/?tag=vitamin

Today we wanted to have a closer look at Vitamin C.

The main purpose of Vitamin C is to protect the cells in our body.  It also helps to keep our connective tissues in good order.  This in turn helps our organs to function properly.

Another vital role of Vitamin C is to help wounds to heal.

It is well known that a lack of Vitamin C can cause scurvy.   The story of Royal Navy sailors being given limes, on board ship,  is well known as a preventive measure to fight scurvy.  What is, sadly less well known is the story of James Lind, a Scottish ships surgeon, who conducted the first ever scientific clinical trial.  This trail showed that citrus fruits were effective against scurvy.  It is a great story and you can read more about that clinical trial and James Lind here http://www.lindalliance.org/James_Lind_Alliance.asp.

Because the body is unable to manufacture (or indeed store) Vitamin C it is vital that we consume it in our diet on a daily basis.  The best sources are citrus fruits such as lemons and lines as well as potato skins, broccoli, strawberries and blackcurrants.

Adults need around 40mg of Vitamin C.  This is best gained by a varied diet.

So what about the money saving idea?  Well simple.  Many years ago my mother lived for a winter or two in a country very close to the Arctic Circle.  In those days Vitamin C rich foods were expensive and rare in that country.  But it was explained to her that buying a Vitamin C supplement was not the most cost effective way of obtaining the required dose.  Instead she was told to  look out for ascorbic acid.  This was because another name for Vitamin C is, in fact, ascorbic acid.  If you buy ascorbic acid power you will, I’m told even today, find it significantly cheaper than buying Vitamin C branded products.

PS.  As a word of caution it is recommended that you do not take more than 1000mg in a day.  Too much Vitamin C can result in Diarrhea as well as stomach pain and flatulence.