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04/17/2009

What’s It Like to Be a Middle Aged Guinea Pig?

guineapig.jpg

If you want to know, read the L.A. Times Booster Shots post which recounts Rosie Mestel’s recent experience volunteering for a cancer epidemiology study.

A first hand account of what it’s like to be interviewed by a health services researcher, this blogger goes from being a bit reticent about giving answers to somewhat invasive questions to being gung-ho about talking about medical history and health behaviors. As she explains,

“Finally, by the end of the interview I wanted to tell her stuff. This was my moment! My moment in the spotlight! Maybe me, my genealogy and my wastrel ways held the ovarian cancer clue! Did she want to know about my missing kidney? Or my older brother’s childhood episode of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura?”

Perhaps atypical, idiosyncratic, or just one person’s point of view, it made me pause to think about the human subjects I’ve interviewed and how this process effects them during and after the research study is over.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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