I spent 4 hours today at Mass General Hospital (MGH) going through a series of medical tests to formally enroll in a 16-week program that studies the risks of low testosterone levels in men. Millions of men in the U.S. and even more around the world suffer from low levels of testosterone which can lead to bone and muscle loss, changes in cholesterol levels, diabetes and many other health and psychological problems.
I indicated my interest to paricipate in a medical studies survey I received this past spring and over the summer MGH contacted me. After a phone screening and a quick visit to the hospital for some blood in August, they determined I was a great candidate so I decided to offer my body up for science.
While I never would have guessed that this would be my first major study, I made a resolution this past year to try and be a better person by giving more of myself. At the time I was thinking that this would manifest in volunteering for a local non-profit like my brother and several friends have done recently, but then this opportunity presented itself and it seemed like a good fit.
I am a healthy person (as far as I know - thank goodness). However, I'm quite sqeemish when it comes to medicine and I'm not likely to ever help discover a cure or treatment so by participating in studies like this I feel like I'm making my own unique contribution to medical science. For years I've been an organ donor, because I do hope that when my body ultimately fails me - it might still be of use to someone or science for study. The thought that by participating in this 16-week study might help lead to some scientific break-throughs that could help others is very appealing.
Believe me when I say that I hope I don't experience any side affects, but I figure that whatever the inconveniences, the side affects are only temporary. I wish more people would consider signing up for medical studies, because we all rely on research to identify new / better cures and treatments. Most studies - like the one I have volunteered to undertake really only have temporary side affects and do not compromise a person's health. Your time is what is required and a willingness to help others.