If you’ve ever had to watch someone you care for live with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s, or another debilitating disease, then you know the frustration of watching health decline in front of your eyes.
That’s where the Bradenton Research Center offers hope to patients and their families.
Started in 1992, the physicians and staff at the Bradenton Research Center organize, enroll, and monitor patients involved with clinical research trials for a variety of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease, migraines, and more, says patient recruiter Mark Baker. The center also performs genetic testing for patients with certain diseases so scientists can study the genetic samples and help devise newer, more effective treatments over time.
Many times, patients hear about studies underway at Bradenton Research Center through their doctors. However, the center also receives phone calls directly from patients. Often, those contacting the center may misunderstand what’s involved with taking part in a study. “People think there are a lot of lab coats, and there’s a lot of trepidation,” Baker says.
To the contrary, the staff at Bradenton Research Center are friendly and direct. “We’re very upfront about what we do, and we talk with people about the number of visits to expect and what we are trying to accomplish,” Baker says. There is a time commitment involved with taking part in any study; however, participants are paid for that time. Baker has even seen some study participants and their families use the money made to go on a short vacation to celebrate the study’s end.
Additionally, almost all testing except MRI and PET scans take place at one location--the center’s building is on 9th Avenue West, not far from Manatee Avenue and 43rd Street West.
Sometimes, a patient may not qualify to participate in a study, but staff members can refer that person to other places for information. “We’re a resource to the community,” Baker says.
Baker also has seen some impressive transformation among study participants just by choosing to take part in the study. “Sometimes we hear that a patient is depressed, and then they get involved with a study. Their mood changes, and we give them new hope,” he says.
Study participants also know they are helping others find out if medicines under development may someday be available to the general public. Sometimes, with genetic diseases, participants take pride in knowing that the more research is done, the more that scientists and physicians can help prevent or lower the effects of that disease for the participant’s children or grandchildren.
The results of studies led by Bradenton Research Center often are published in medical journals or shared at medical conferences. One example of published results can be found here, in a press releases regarding a migraine treatment from the pharmaceutical company Amgen.
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