Clinical trials have come a long way since Scottish physician and naval hygiene pioneer James Lind compared lemons and horseradish as treatments for scurvy while aboard the HMS Salisbury in 1747.
Just how far, together with the importance of these trials - medical research studies that test whether treatments used in healthcare work and are safe - are the subject of a Techfest in September* talk.
Professor Shaun Treweek from the University of Aberdeen is giving the talk on Monday (September 30) at the University’s Fraser Noble Building at 6.30pm.
Chair in Health Services Research, Professor Treweek said: “The idea that we need hard proof that something works is pretty new.
“In James Lind’s time, if an eminent doctor said his - and it was always a ‘he’ in those days - secret brew was the way forward that was often enough.
“Now there are thousands of trials running testing all sorts of things and off the back of these the media offers us a daily diet of promising treatments and wonder drugs. But is this all marvellous news, or just hot air?
“My talk will cover the history of trials, how they are designed, what they mean for our health and provide top tips for how to decide whether that 'Miracle cure!' headline you see in the news is actually worth getting excited about.”
Meanwhile people in the North-east will get the chance to hear more about how they can get involved in local clinical trials at a public event taking place at the Suttie Centre on the city’s Foresterhill health campus on October 10 at 5pm.
SHARE - Scottish Health Research Register - is a new NHS Research Scotland initiative to establish a register of people, interested in participating in health research.
Dr Sam Philip, clinical lead for SHARE in NHS Grampian, added: “Clinical trials are vital to the development of new medicines and other new life saving treatments. Finding suitable participants is one of the main reasons for delay in a clinical trial. The register aims to remove that delay.”
* Supported by joint principal sponsors Shell and BP, Aberdeen’s annual TechFest In September festival runs from September 13 to October 2 with a special 20-day programme of events, workshops and shows to celebrate its 20th birthday.
The University of Aberdeen is again one of the largest supporters and contributors to the festival with a host of talks, debates and interactive workshops covering a range of topical issues.
Book tickets online at www.boxofficeaberdeen.com or call Aberdeen Box Office on 01224 641122. For more information on TechFest In September 2013, and to see the full event listings visit http://www.techfestsetpoint.org.uk/tis or follow TechFest In September on Facebook and Twitter.