A brave new world – ‘research with’ not ‘research on’ patients

Biomedcentral.: May 20, 2014

‘On the 20th of May 1747, I took twelve patients in the scurvy, on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them.’ James Lind

This is a description of one of the first ever clinical trials, investigating the impact of citrus fruit on scurvy. According to Lind, scurvy caused more deaths in the British fleets than French and Spanish arms combined, and it was this that prompted him to pioneer one of the first clinical trials in the history of medicine.

It is now 267 years to the day since James Lind’s seminal work, and the way in which clinical trials are conducted has changed dramatically. Medical research has seen huge advancements, including novel study designs, better methods of blinding and randomization, more sophisticated statistical methods and better definition of outcomes. Read More