Raise awareness of clinical trials for kids

December 16, 2013

Although almost one-half of parents say they would let their children participate in clinical trials, only about 5% of children actually do so, according to a recent survey.

 

Although almost one-half of parents say they would let their children participate in clinical trials, only about 5% of children actually do so, according to a recent survey.

One of the main reasons for the great disparity appears to be awareness. More than two-thirds of participants in the survey said they have never seen or heard about opportunities for children to participate in medical research.

Researchers from University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conduct periodic national polls on important issues and trends affecting children’s health. In this latest poll conducted this past June, they surveyed 1,420 parents from across the United States with a child between the ages of birth and 17 years.

They found that only 5% of the children of the surveyed parents actually participated in medical research, most often those children with a chronic illness. Only 4% of those who had not participated in a clinical trial had ever been asked to participate. Another one-quarter (24%) recalled seeing or hearing about some research opportunity for children.

Forty-four percent of the parents surveyed said they would consider allowing their child to participate in medical research if their child had the medical problem being studied. Nearly one-half said they would consider letting their child participate in a study testing a new medicine or vaccine; more than three-quarters reported being willing to allow their child to participate in research involving questions about mental health, eating, or nutrition.

Not surprisingly, those parents who are aware of research opportunities or who have had a child participate previously are more likely to consider participation.

The researchers note that 1 in 20 children participating in medical research is not enough to maintain progress with vaccines, medicines, and tests that could save children’s lives. 

 

 

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