Clinical trials have been in the news in Calhoun County
for several months. You may be puzzled about what you can gain from a
clinical trial, and how much of your time, commitment and money will be
involved. Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in
their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before
they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical
I enrolled in the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial in 1992
because I come from a family that has a history of cancer. Even though I
had to travel to Morgantown to participate in the trial, it was worth it
because I was doing something that could make life better for my
children. This trial study was designed to see whether taking the drug
tamoxifen could prevent breast cancer in those who are at an increased
risk of developing the disease. It also looked at whether by taking
tamoxifen the number of heart attacks and bone fractures would be
reduced. The study began recruiting participants in April of 1992 and
closed enrollment in September of 1997, with 13,388 women ages 35 and
older enrolled. Researchers conducted the study at more than 300 centers
across the U.S. and Canada. The study was funded by the National Cancer
The HARE (Help
ARthritis with Exercise) study:
If you are an adult (age 18 or older) with arthritis,
who is not very active, Calhoun County Committee on Aging is offering
free exercise classes just for you. Arthritis is the most common cause
of disability in the U.S., and West Virginia has the highest level of
self-reported arthritis. West Virginia is also fifth highest in the
number of adults who report no leisure-time physical activity. If you
are physically inactive, you are more likely to have arthritis and
chronic joint symptoms that limit your daily activities.
I am fairly active, but have lots of aches and pains.
Yes, I have arthritis and osteoporosis.
Dina L. Jones, PT, PhD, assistant professor in the Dept.
of Orthopedics at WVU, received a grant from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention to examine the relationship between physical
activity and arthritis. She has partnered with W.Va. Bureau for Public
Health and W.Va. Bureau of Senior Services to offer free EnhanceFitness™
exercise classes at CCCOA. Also collaborating are the Maryland and Ohio
River Valley chapters of the Arthritis Foundation.
This is really good news! Finally, trial studies are
being done that will benefit people in rural areas like Calhoun. The
hour-long classes will be held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 12
weeks. Each class is limited to 20 adults who have arthritis.
Ten more people, men or women, are needed to complete
enrollment for the class.
Because this is a research study, those who qualify will
be tested briefly on their basic physical abilities and are expected to
complete questionnaires and telephone interviews at three or four times:
the beginning of classes, the end of classes, and three months after
classes end. Participants may also need a note from their doctor saying
that they are able to join this exercise program.
Participants must be willing to make a commitment to
attend the sessions. Individual circumstances can be discussed when you
register. It will provide an opportunity to have exercise in a
supervised setting with a trained instructor. Your classmates know what
you are experiencing and you can encourage each other.
Based on solid research and tested at over 80 sites
around the country, the program focuses on flexibility, balance,
low-impact aerobics, and strength training exercises--everything health
professionals say that people need to maintain health and be able to
function physically. Jones is researching whether this community-based
program, taught by certified professionals, can effectively increase the
ability of adults with arthritis to handle their daily needs and
At the end of the study, Jones will examine all the data
collected and, with input from the Bureau for Public Health and the
Bureau of Senior Services, will decide if the HARE program was
successful in providing arthritis-specific benefits to class members. If
the collaborators agree that the program was successful, then the
partners will focus on how the program can be expanded to all 55
counties, so that all West Virginians with arthritis can have access to
and benefit from the program.
Calhoun County is fortunate to have been selected as one
of the sites. Remember, no long trips out of town to participate, just
three hours a week for 12 weeks. That is just 36 hours that can help you
have better movement. We have an opportunity!
Interested people with arthritis can call the Dept. of
Orthopedics, 293-0742 or toll free 866-913-4273, to see if they qualify
to join the HARE study.