Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 18 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1318

Healthy volunteers who consent to participate in clinical trials show a disconcerting tendency to forget the risks of the trial they’ve signed up for (QJM 2008;101:625-9, doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcn067). Results of a questionnaire designed to test the recall of 82 volunteers, of whom 72 had university level education and 49 were clinical medical students, showed that just 10% could remember the names of the three drugs being tested. The maximum number of risks that were recalled correctly was six out of 23. Only one participant failed to recall the exact value of the inconvenience payment they were due to receive.

Can maths predict who will develop high blood pressure? Arterial catecholamine concentrations were measured for 99 men, at rest, after performing mental arithmetic and while undergoing a stressful laboratory test that induced an alpha-adrenergic vasoconstriction. Their resting blood pressures were taken 18 years later. The researchers conclude …

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