Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: What are the risks and benefits of taking part in research studies?

Q. I have a particular disease, and I know that a medical school in my community recruits people to participate in research studies. I'm wondering if I should volunteer for one of these studies. What do I need to know?

A. There are two good reasons to consider volunteering for a study: the study might help others, and it might help you. There also may be risks to you, in some types of studies. As with anything in life, you will need to balance the possible benefits to you and others against the possible risks. To do that, you need to be given a clear idea of what the benefits and risks are.

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