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How does a clinical study work?

Recruitment

Projects are advertised in the local media (newspapers, radio, ad inserts) and by email to a mailing list to which you can subscribe for free. These ads show the project title and its objectives, the eligibility criteria, the name of the principal investigator, the ethic committee’s approval number, and information on the person to contact if you want to participate in the project.

Eligibility criteria

To take part in the study, you must meet the eligibility criteria indicated in the ad. These criteria, which vary from one study to another, are determined in order to answer specific research questions. Participants are selected on the basis of the characteristics required for each project (age, gender, blood cholesterol level, whether or not certain drugs are being taken, etc.).

Participant screening

If you meet the eligibility criteria and want to participate in the study, you must contact the project coordinator, who will ask you some additional questions to determine if you are eligible. If so, you will be invited for a screening visit where more precise measurements will be taken (blood samples, height and weight, etc.) to confirm whether or not you can take part.

Meetings and follow-up visits

Once your acceptance into the study is confirmed, you must sign a consent form affirming your desire to participate in the study. This consent is voluntary and you are free to change your mind at any time. 

You must then follow the research protocol guidelines for the duration of the study. Each study has its own protocol that dictates the type of intervention, the tests and measurements to be performed, recommendations to follow during the study, the number of visits anticipated, the post-study follow-up, etc. The study may last a few days or several months according to the research protocol.

To sum up, to participate in a clinical study you must

  • meet the eligibility criteria;
  • attend a screening visit;
  • give your consent to participate in the study;
  • be willing to undergo tests and measurements that will provide data that will then be analyzed by the research team; and
  • be available for meetings and follow-up visits.