Clinical research is an extremely important part of modern healthcare, and of contemporary science as a whole. Through clinical research studies, we can develop new treatments for hitherto untreatable illnesses, hit upon new processes and technologies that can help us to perform surgeries that are ever more intricate, and even further our knowledge of what it means to be human. Some people believe that we’ve already reached the ceiling of our medical knowledge and that there’s precious little left to learn, but here at Document Capture Co we know that this isn’t the case. Just look at some of the healthcare studies that have been completed or are in the process of completion in 2013; imagine what we still have left to learn!
Cancer is one of mankind’s biggest killers, and clinical researchers the world over are gathering data in the hopes of eventually perfecting a cure. With better early detection procedures, however, it is hoped that certain forms of cancer can be spotted at a suitably nascent stage to treat them before they become dangerous. British researchers this year announced the development of a device that can ‘smell’ bladder cancer in urine, resulting in detection far earlier than with existing methods. Working on the principle that some breeds of dog can smell damaged cells in cancer patients, researchers at the University of Liverpool and the University of West England have developed the ‘Odoreader’, a data capture device capable of detecting the trace chemical scents produced by cancerous cells when urine is heated. Clinical research in fields such as this may help to save countless lives in future.
As many in the healthcare industries realise, care isn’t about simply looking after the physical wellbeing of your patients. The emotional needs of your patients are just as important, but we’re still relatively unaware of the scientific and medical processes behind the formation of individual emotions themselves. A study at Carnegie Melton University has this year looked into the science behind emotions; why do we form complex emotions, what even are they and where should we draw the line between emotion and instinct? Using data capture tools to map brain activity, the researchers were able to draw parallels between certain emotions, and could see, for example, that happiness and anger activated similar parts of the brain. Could clinical studies such as these help healthcare professionals to provide a better quality of care in future?
The pace of death
If learning more about life’s natural processes can help to take healthcare forwards in future, what about the process of death itself? While death is often seen as an adversary to healthcare professionals in a variety of fields, it is a natural process that will eventually overtake us all. We still understand precious little about the process of death, however; do all the cells in our bodies die in a simultaneous event or do they shut down one by one? A new study from the University College London has found that, in fact, something closer to the latter may be true in deaths not related to aging processes. Individual cells may break down at different rates in a ‘wave’ through an organism when the death is related to trauma or infection, until the entire organism itself is dead. By slowing the rate of cell degradation and decay, it is thought that we may one day be able to perform more lifesaving procedures to prolong life after traumatic events in the future. Results from studies such as these give us a window into mortality that we can use to help improve modern medicine.
Clinical research is important, and every year more amazing healthcare studies are undertaken to help move our medical knowledge forwards to new and unprecedented levels. If you’re undertaking your own clinical research project this year, you’ll need the most accurate data capture tools available to you in order to develop the conclusions you’re looking for. Take a look at our range of healthcare data capture services or contact us to find out how we can help.