Each year, International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near the 20 May to commemorate the day that James Lind started his famous trial.
The earliest recorded clinical trial is documented in the Old Testament. However a Scottish naval surgeon, James Lind, is generally considered to be the originator of clinical trials because he was the first to introduce control groups into his experiments.
Scurvy was a deadly disease in 1700s and there were a lot of conflicting ideas about how to treat it. Lind carried out his trial whilst serving on HMS Salisbury in 1747 comparing six of the proposed remedies. All his scurvy patients were given the same general diet but this was supplemented with various additional items, including cider, elixir vitriol, vinegar, seawater, nutmeg and (crucially) oranges and lemons. In just six days, those patients taking citrus fruits were fit for duty. This enabled Lind to make the link between citrus fruits in the diet and prevention of scurvy. Find out more from the Wellcome Trust website.
Thanks to James Lind, carefully regulated clinical trials are currently the most effective way to establish which new treatments are beneficial for human health. International Clinical Trials Day provides a focal point to raise awareness of the importance of research to health care, and highlight how partnerships between patients and healthcare practitioners are vital to high-quality, relevant research.
Find out more about clinical trials and how you can get involved:
Listen to a clip of Simon Denegri's radio interviews on 21 May to celebrate International Clinical Trials Day. Simon is the NIHR National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research
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