Today was my first visit to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital Clinical Research Facility in Sheffield for the RADAR research study, looking at the effects of Losartan on Alzheimer’s, with my Daughter Evelyn who is my research companion for this project.
We were met by one of the research Nurses, who took us through to a consulting room where my Neurologist was waiting. My Neurologist talked about the study, her responsibilities, how it would work and asked if we understood why we were there. Then she asked me to explain what I would be doing to ensure that I understood my part in the study and I explained that I would be taking Losartan and monitoring my Blood pressure. Later I would either have Losartan or a Placebo and that the study lasts for a year.
Evelyn stayed in the room with the research Nurse to answer questions while I went into another room with my Neurologist. While there I had a Mini Mental, depression and anxiety tests, blood pressure and had bloods taken. My list of medication was checked along with my medical history and she talked a bit more about the study, then we went back to the other room. Back in the other room, my Neurologist explained that I would have to wait an hour for my blood results to come back before I could have the supply of Losartan and go home. She also explained about what I should do if I became unwell or had any side effects and gave me a card with my details on and contact details at the hospital 24 hours a day. Once my blood results were back, I was given the supply of Losartan and a blood pressure monitor and we went home.
It can be concerning taking a tablet for research purposes but the whole experience this afternoon was very positive. Everything was explained well to both of us, and they made sure I understood my part in the study and what to do if I or my family became concerned. Research studies may appear daunting, but for the next year I have something positive to focus on each day, it may not help me, but I may make a contribution to better treatments for future generations.
Back to hospital today to so they could see how I had got on the last week. They checked my blood pressure readings for the last week. I was asked if I had any problems or concerns and they explained again that I would have an increased dose of Losartan for the next week and I waited for the tablets to come. This time I didn’t have to wait for the Blood results so I went home, it all took about 45 minutes.
Later in the day, one of the research nurses rang me to tell me that my blood results were ok and that I could start taking the new dose of Losartan tonight.
I was back at the Hallmashire this morning to check on how things had gone. They checked my blood pressure readings for the last week. I was asked if I had any problems or concerns and they explained the I would now take a Placebo for two weeks to was out the Losartan from my body before I start the Main Part of the study.
My Consultant came to see me to see how things were going and even took the time to check my ankle as I had been having some pain in it. We also talked about the new course in York “A Good Life with Dementia” and my wish to donate my brain to research when I am no longer here. This time I didn’t have to wait for the Blood results so I went home.
This marks the end of the first part of this study, to date is has been a positive experience which has given me something to focus on and has contributed to me having a more positive outlook.
The next part is only a few weeks long and can be found here