Archive for July, 2012

Would you be a Clinical Trial Participant?
July 30, 2012

For the last 8 years I have been in over a dozen clinical trials as a participant of the ‘Control’ group. I have had my eyes tested, bone density tested, some taste sensation, pain thresholds, blood tests, and exercise evaluations. Some of the trials have paid, up to $75.00, but others did not pay a fee but validated my parking or I received a cup of coffee. I obviously don’t participate for the money!


The trials are looking at matching a healthy adult in the same age or sex or height or weight, socioeconomic or race to the subject group. I have learned about some diseases and have gathered a new understanding to the ramifications of many diseases and drug effects.


After the eye study the data was sent to my eye doctor. He was amazed at the depth of the examinations. A normally quite individual he became animated in showing me the results and what it meant and how expensive the equipment was and how some of the tests done he had only read about in his journals but never saw the data from an actual patient of his. Another welcomed side effect of being a participant.


Last week I was a control subject for a hearing test. The study is evaluating the control group to subjects who have had long use of high amounts of antibiotics intravenously and the relationship to hearing loss. Who knew right? It was a 3-hour study with the last hour in a passive state where I could read. The first part of the study I had to respond when I heard a sound. Some sounds I was told would be high and only dogs could hear. The test went well and my hearing is with-in range, all good things since the last time I had my hearing tested I was in grade school!


The next day I woke with a migraine. I do get occasional migraines.  This one was a doozy and I was trying to think of what contributed to it. Usually an additive in food triggers my migraines and I don’t know until it is too late. I usually just don’t eat anything flavored or seasoned with a flavoring that is artificial and that helps me a great deal. I didn’t eat anything unusual in this case. So as my head is aching I am thinking and then remember the high dog sounds that although I couldn’t hear, my brain heard them and did not like them! I called the researcher and reported an adverse effect.


This is the first time I have ever had an adverse effect to a study. It won’t stop me from participating in future studies, but I may have to think more carefully if dog sounds are involved.  Would you ever participate in a clinical trial? Have you been a subject and what has been your experience?


The Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe Ever
July 16, 2012

I love blueberries. I have about a dozen plants and harvest about 30 pounds from my own bushes a year. I fight off the birds by netting the bushes; flying a flag and having 2 cats patrol the area. Two neighbors also have blueberry bushes and do not net them yet the birds peck away at mine. The birds could have free-range blueberries! The birds remain my nemesis.

Blueberries are supposed to be a super food. They are chock full of antioxidants and other healthy stuff. I have been eating and picking blueberries my entire life.  I love blueberry muffins, blueberry jam, blueberry pie, blueberry pancakes and just fresh or frozen blueberries.


If you watch the news, it appears daily there is a report about some food that is supposed to promote better health, fight cancer, reduce belly fat or have other fabulous benefits. Soy for example has had it’s ups and downs in popularity and benefit resume.  Green tea now appears to be the new darling.  I hate soy and I don’t like green tea. I have seen people put significant amount of sugar into their green tea or soy latte because they hate the taste. Why bother? Just eat blueberries!

The Best Blueberry Muffin

2 Cups Flour sifted

2 tsp. Baking powder

½ tsp. slat

½ Cup Butter

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

½ Cup Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla

2 Cups Blueberries


Combine dry ingredients, set aside

Beat butter and sugar until well blended. Add eggs and beat until smooth.

Add milk and Vanilla alternately with the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in blueberries.


Heat oven to 450. Spoon the batter into paper cups. Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake 5 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue to bake 25-30 minutes. Makes a dozen!


The key is the sugar on top and the high heat at first that gives these muffins a big crunchy top. I have made them with oiled muffin tins instead of paper cups too. Substituting buttermilk for the milk did not produce the same yumminess. Don’t even think about using a sugar substitute, these are not low calorie, but a treat. Lemon zest can be a nice touch if you need to go rogue and off recipe!