Assume that your grandmother and your auntie died of ovarian cancer. That your dad has severe hypertension and his mother has suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, as a consequence of hypertension. It would be natural to be concerned. Imagine a world where you wouldn't be, because there would be solutions, effective treatments, safe and with reasonable side effects. And their cost would be affordable enough to be sure you can access them. A world that is kind to the future you
There is only one certitude in life: one day, we will be gone. All the rest can be changed. As the research of today determines the medicine of the future now is the time to wonder what disease will affect us and when.
We should also wonder if there will be a treatment, will it be effective and safe.
What kind of treatment is it going to be, how much is iit going to cost.
Choosing what research gets funded
can determine if new treatments will be affordable,
address diseases that currently have no cure or be
more effective, safer, better tolerated
If some of these questions are more concerning to you than others, then ensuring reseach is done to provide satisfying answers will help you to prepare for the day they are needed.
Nowadays when someone has a serious illness, they usually play a relatively passive role in the medical management of their condition. But things have changed and with the right information and the right resources, one can make critical choices in one's treatment, thereby having a significant impact on our lives.
Let me share a personal experience to explain why one should get involved with the direction of medical research.
I always suffered of migraines. As the migraine attacks became more frequent and even more painful, I decided to look for a better treatment. At the time I had noticed that if I exercised during the attack, I was able to lift smaller weights than usual. Likewise, I had noticed periods of extreme general weakness. So I looked on Google for "migraines and energy" keywords. This may seem unexpected for a double graduated physician and scientist but this is how I discovered that Professor Jean Schoenen (whom I actually knew by name) had shown in clinical trials that riboflavin (vitamin B2) was more effective than placebo in preventing migraine attacks.
The link with energy is that scientists have discovered that people with migraines had sick mitochondria (the power station of the biological cell). Riboflavin was helping them in better functioning in producing energy.
At the time, the medical guidelines for migraine prevention were beta blockers followed by anti-epileptic drugs. As my blood pressure had always been low I assumed I couldn't take beta blockers as one of their side-effects was to lower blood pressure.
On the other hand, anti-epileptic drugs are drugs that are associated with some very significant side-effects and starting a lifelong treatment was a serious decision. Therefore, once I had discovered the data on the effectiveness of riboflavine, trying it was a no-brainer. It changed my life from one day to the other, not only reducing the frequency and intensity of my migraine attacks but also improving my levels of energy and concentration. Having the possibility to prevent my migraines with a vitamin has led to a major improvement of my quality of life, particularly without the need to take the risks associated with anti-epileptic drugs. A few years later I had to start a beta blocker treatment and together with riboflavin, today I hardly have any migraine attack with no low blood pressure.
I was lucky enough that good quality scientific and clinical research could inform me on safe opportunities to be treated very effectively in ways that better fit my needs, such as with vitamins, food supplements in this case.
Do you have a family history of stroke or have you been told you have chronic bronchitis? Did your mother develop macular degeneration? Does your cousin have a child with a rare disease? Did your father have Parkinson?
The first step is to define your needs in medicine.
Second step: explore, if there are answers to your questions and if your health needs are addressed
Third step: if research is needed, make sure it happens