The medical research agenda, should you get involved?

 

Medical Research is probably one of those sector that has a huge impact on our lives. Simply determining how long our lives will be, how sick or/ and disabled we will be during our lives.

Still, did you realise how little you are involved? 

It is noteworthy that the representation of the public as the table of decision-makers in medical research is extremely limited. And still, not only are they the recipients, they are also the universal payers, be it as tax payers, donors, or consumers of drugs.

Still, efforts of community outreach for medical research are too poor, and we are missing a mechanism that would allow any one of us to exerts its influence on the agenda of medical research.

I am involved, I am both a physician, as specialist in internal medicine, and a scientist. Many times I have wondered how people do, having absolutely no understanding, no insight in this matter, no control on their health.

With internet, there is now a easy way to share information and indeed, online information on health matters is very hot. 

But what is still remaining untouched, is the opportunity for you, us to determine what are the priorities in medical research.

 

Why?

 

For the community, it means prioritise what in your health count for you.

 

IF YOU OR A BELOVED ONES HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION, the importance is obvious. Don't you have views on the way you want to be treated? Do you favour an aggressive treatment or do you favour safe treatments? Do you want to involve nutrition interventions? Meditation? Or do you want to rely only on drugs?

 

You might also have views on what bothers you most in your condition. The James Lind Foundation, for example, helps people with a condition make a list of their top 10 questions and demands to be researched. What's the impact of food on my well-being as someone with cancer? Or how can I manage my fatigue if I have multiple sclerosis? Or how can I know how severe will be my rheumatoid arthritis in 10 years from now? Will meditation help me if I have early memory alteration?

If one has, for example, Parkinson and would like to know if one can improve symptoms with mitochondrial co-enzymes, or meditation, today there is no route.

 

IF NO MEDICAL CONDITION AFFECTS YOUR LIFE, well first of all, good for you!

But you still have reasons to engage with medical research. First, to make sure things go the way you want them to go. Do you want to live in a world with advanced medicine? Your smartphone may be a model that is 3 years old but the treatments you are offered for the most common health problems tend to be 30 years old... Is it what you want?

Vitamins, meditation, physical interventions are hardly researched in medicine. Maybe you want more focus on them?

Research has shown that acupuncture works in a number of medical conditions and in managing symptoms. Is there another alternative medicine you want to be researched?

 

But worse, as we will see in the second problem addressed by Crowdacure, some fields of medicine are hardly researched, the available funding is extremely low. Today we will briefly discuss just one of them. But it is so common and so severe that it is enough to give you a sense of the scale of the problem.

 

Example, Trauma: is a body damage of physical origin. It can have multiple origins but all these events are associated with a limited number of issues: the most obvious examples are bleeding, inflammation, infection, shock, organ failures. Trauma is the leading cause of death in children and young people, actually up to the game of 44 in men. Nevertheless, in the UK, government and charities spend on trauma £9M per year. For a comparison of the burden and funding in other conditions please see figure xx.

The consequence of this state of affairs is that the amount of research on trauma is extremely low. If you know anyone, who got a trauma and eventually lost their lives, or remained disabled, went through intensive care and is now in dialysis or dependent- and it is quite common when one reviews the statistics- it is mind-blowing to see how little research has been done and is being done to help these people to have a better outcome.

 

You might want to change this, so that the day you have children, or one of your relative is involved in a car accident, or in a fall, they can get a treatment that is advanced as all the devices we have in our house.