Brittany Mulligan for Hometown News

BREVARD COUNTY — A series of panels throughout the next month will highlight the importance and benefit of participating in clinical trials, and seniors are invited to learn more about what’s involved by attending.

One Senior Place will host the first of a four-week series at 2 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 at its Viera location, 8085 Spyglass Hill Road. Attendance is free and refreshments will be provided. An RSVP is required by calling (321) 751-6771.

The first part will dive into an introduction of clinical trials, the various phases of being involved, facts versus myths of participation, and what the latest research has shown.

Barbara Fradkin, director of One Senior Place, wrote in a recent column, “Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.”

By participating in a clinical trial, you can help doctors and researchers learn about the vaccines and treatment options to help fight diseases and illnesses.

“Clinical trials have made an enormous difference in research,” said Charter Research CEO Jeff Pohlig. “Clinical trials are where new medicines are tested to determine that they are safe, that they work to help you feel better and to understand the side effects that they can cause in some people.

“If you take a broad look at research in general, you’ll see that it involves three major areas: First, laboratory research is where scientists initially test their newest ideas. Second, after showing initial success in the lab, research is conducted in animals, often in mice or other mammals. Third, after success in both the lab and in animals, and after this initial data receives approval from the FDA, then research is conducted in humans through clinical trials.”

Mr. Pohlig explained that after success is found in clinical trials, the FDA can decide to approve a new medicine so that your physician can prescribe it for you.

“Without clinical trials, there would be no approved medicines,” he said. “Every medicine you’ve ever taken – or provided to a loved one – came through the clinical trials process.”

Besides knowing the good you’re doing for others suffering or will suffer from diseases and illness, there is a monetary benefit.

Participants mays receive a stipend for each visit to the research clinic to compensate you for your time and travel, Mr. Pohlig said. The amount of the stipend varies, depending on the clinical trial. For a typical outpatient visit, the stipend may be something like $50 or $60.

So what’s involved with these clinical trials? While you’ll have a chance to ask professionals at the event, Mr. Pohlig said that most trials do require a blood sample. Other trials may require a urine specimen, a saliva sample or a sample of spinal fluid.

He added that many trials involve imaging, such as an X-ray, MRI, or PET scan, while some trials, such as those for Alzheimer’s disease, require memory tests that may be written or verbal.

“When you speak with a research professional about a specific clinical trial, you’ll learn about the specific procedures in the trial you’re considering,” Mr. Pohlig said. “You will always know about all the procedures up front – both the required ones and the optional ones – and then you can choose whether you want to participate in the trial.”

Interested but don’t have reliable transportation to participate in a clinical trial? The trial center can most often arrange transportation for you.

Many research centers work with Uber or Lyft for transportation services, Mr. Pohlig said.

The second discussion will cover the topic “Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment and Prevention Trials” on Jan. 21, “The Latest in Parkinson’s Disease and Treatment” on Jan. 28 and “NASH Clinical Trials and the Importance of Early Detection” on Feb. 4.

To learn more, visit or call (321) 751-6771.