The initial screening was brief, just a few questions. I qualified as a female, within the desired age-range, with osteoarthritis and no rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, but no heart problems. Next, I received informed consent paperwork, which explained the procedure and asked me to sign if I agreed to participate in the study.
Statins block the production of cholesterol, but can they be used to treat other conditions? The research study asked: Who should take statins? What are the actual effects of statins on arthritis patients?
Statins cause muscle and joint pain in some patients. Myopathy results from high doses of statins because the muscle cells release a protein, myoglobin, into the bloodstream.
Research studies are approved by the school’s Institutional Review Board and carefully monitored to insure safety. Clinical trials of medications typically compare the effects of the medication on a test group to the effects of a placebo on a control group.
At the medical school, I received an intensive battery of medical tests: blood tests, a stress test, a CAT scan and an ultrasound study. I watched and listened to my heart valves, which functioned perfectly. No cholesterol built up in my heart valves.
My younger brother was 47 years old, when he woke up coughing early one morning. He fell back on the bed and died after coughing up blood. His body gave the gift of life to others.
I took the cholesterol medication and returned to John Hopkins to have my blood drawn 30 days later. The cholesterol drug, or statin, definitely reduced muscle tension in my back, neck and legs. Two weeks later, the relaxing effect of the statin was overcome by my weakening neck muscles.
I called and returned to John Hopkins for final tests. I could not complete the entire study, but I was paid $400 for participating in the clinical trials.
The effects of taking the statin for 45 days were permanent and indeed beneficial. I regained full range of motion in my knees and legs, previously lost to osteoarthritis.
If you would like to participate in a clinical trial, contact the research department of any medical school in the United States. John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland posts all its research opportunities online. The University of Tennessee displays medical facilities from St Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the Veterans Administration Medical Center, which administer research studies in the University of Tennessee Clinical Research Center.
Gift of Life (2014). Gift of Life retrieved on March 1, 2014 from http://www.giftdonor.org/
John Hopkins (2014). Clinical Trials at Johns Hopkins Bayview retrieved on March 1, 2014 from
Mayo Clinic Staff (2014). Statins: Are these cholesterol-lowering drugs right for you? retrieved on March 1,
2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/
University of Tennessee (2014). University of Tennessee Clinical Research Center retrieved on March
1, 2014 from https://www.uthsc.edu/CRC/