Current Studies

We regularly conduct studies in all kinds of chronic conditions. Our list below reviews some of these most common studies.

Lately, we have been studying vaccines for prevention of all kinds of conditions. Vaccines are intended for use in healthy people and are used to prevent certain conditions. We often conduct vaccine studies in flu vaccine, Staphylococcus Aureus, Clostridium Difficile (C-Diff), Meningitis, Norovirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Dengue and Zika. We are always looking for healthy volunteers to participate in our studies.

Click here to find our current list of enrolling studies.

 

FS Staff

Allergies are an abnormal response of the immune system. People who have allergies have an immune system that reacts to a usually harmless substance in the environment. This substance (pollen, mold, animal dander, etc.) is called an allergen. Allergies are a very common problem, affecting at least 2 out of every 10 Americans.

If the allergen is in the air, the allergic reaction will likely occur in the eyes, nose and lungs. If the allergen is ingested, the allergic reaction often occurs in the mouth, stomach, and intestines. Sometimes enough chemicals are released from the mast cells to cause a reaction throughout the body, such as hives, decreased blood pressure, shock, or loss of consciousness.

Most allergies are inherited, which means they are passed on to children by their parents. People inherit a tendency to be allergic, although not to any specific allergen. When one parent is allergic, their child has a 50% chance of having allergies. That risk jumps to 75% if both parents have allergies.

The back is a well-designed structure made up of bone, muscles, nerves and other soft tissues. You rely on your back to be the workhorse of the body — its function is essential for nearly every move you make. Because of this, the back can be particularly vulnerable to injury and back pain can be disabling.

Your lower back bears most of the weight and stress of your body. Back pain most often occurs from strained back muscles and ligaments, from improper or heavy lifting, or after a sudden awkward movement. Sometimes a muscle spasm can cause back pain. Often, there's an accumulation of stress with one particular event unleashing the pain. In many cases, there may not be an obvious cause.

Four out of five adults have at least one bout of back pain sometime during life. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for health care visits and missed work.

On the bright side, you can prevent most back pain. Simple home treatment and proper body mechanics will often heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain. Although it may take several weeks before it completely disappears, you should notice some improvement within the first 72 hours of self-care. If not, see your doctor.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease that affects the way your body uses food for energy. The disease develops when an organ called the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or when the body is not able to use insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body's cells to use sugar (glucose) for energy. Insulin also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells.

When insulin is not available or is not used correctly, the level of sugar in your blood gets too high and cells do not get the energy they need. If your blood sugar stays high for a long time, you can develop problems with your eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.

Controlling your blood sugar is the best way to avoid serious complications from type 2 diabetes, such as heart and blood vessel diseases. Many people who have type 2 diabetes enjoy healthy, active lives when they are able to control their blood sugar. Exercising, eating healthy foods, and taking medicines all help control blood sugar.

More and more adults and children are developing type 2 diabetes. This is largely because of bad eating habits and a lack of physical activity. It is important to know whether you or your children are at risk for type 2 diabetes and to know what you can do to help prevent the disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. It is important to learn about your heart to help prevent heart disease. And, if you have cardiovascular disease, you can live a healthier, more active life by learning about your disease and treatments and by becoming an active participant in your care.

When too much cholesterol is present, plaque (a thick, hard deposit) may form in the body's arteries narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart. Over time, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease.

When not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart chest pain -- called angina -- can result. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is usually due to a sudden closure from a blood clot forming on top of a previous narrowing.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, often doesn't have any symptoms, so you usually don't feel it. For that reason, hypertension is usually diagnosed by a health care professional on a routine visit. If your blood pressure is extremely high, you may have unusually strong headaches, chest pain, and heart failure (especially difficulty breathing and poor exercise tolerance). If you have any of these symptoms, seek treatment immediately.

While the cause of hypertension in most people remains unclear, a variety of conditions -- such as getting little or no exercise, poor diet, obesity, older age, and genetics -- can lead to hypertension.

The blood pressure reading is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and is written as systolic pressure, the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats, over diastolic pressure, the blood pressure between heartbeats. For example, a blood pressure reading is written as 120/80 mm Hg, or "120 over 80". The systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80.

Hypertension treatment usually involves making lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, drug therapy.

Lifestyle changes include losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, regular aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking), limiting alcohol drinking.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and found in certain foods, such as food from animals, like dairy products (whole milk), eggs and meat. The body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly. Its cell walls, or membranes, need cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat. But, the body needs only a small amount of cholesterol to meet its needs. When too much is present health problems such as coronary heart disease may develop.

Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every 5 years. When being tested, your doctor may recommend a non-fasting cholesterol test or a fasting cholesterol test. A non-fasting cholesterol test will show your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A fasting cholesterol test, called a lipid profile or a lipoprotein analysis, will measure your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol. It will also measure triglycerides. Your doctor may start with a non-fasting cholesterol test and then recommend a lipid profile, based on your results.

Doctors recommend your cholesterol stay below 200.

According to the National Headache Foundation, over 45 million Americans suffer from chronic, recurring headaches and of these, 28 million suffer from migraines. About 20% of children and adolescents also have significant headaches.

Headaches, especially migraines, have a tendency to run in families. Most children and adolescents (90%) who have migraines have other family members with migraines. When both parents have a history of migraines, there is a 70% chance that the child will also develop migraines. If only one parent has a history of migraines, the risk drops to 25%-50%.

Headache pain results from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. It's not clear, however, why these signals are activated in the first place.

People who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) usually have some symptoms of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Your symptoms will change depending on the severity of your COPD.

Key symptoms include a long-term (chronic) cough, chronic mucus (sputum) production when you cough, repeated episodes of acute bronchitis, shortness of breath that is persistent and gets worse, occurs during exercise, and worsens during respiratory infections, such as colds.

You may have a rapid, sometimes sudden, and prolonged worsening of symptoms (cough, amount of mucus, and/or shortness of breath), especially if your COPD is mainly chronic bronchitis. This is called a COPD exacerbation. A COPD exacerbation can be life-threatening, and you may have to go to the hospital.

A number of medical organizations have classified COPD according to symptoms and lung function. Lung function is based on spirometry tests that measure how much air you can breathe out compared to a person without COPD (the predicted value). The specific tests used evaluate how much air you can breathe out in one second and the amount of air you can breathe out after taking a deep breath.

Fibromyalgia causes pain in your muscles and joints, as well as tenderness when you press certain spots on your body. You may not have any energy, or you may have trouble sleeping. These and other symptoms can be bad enough to cause problems with your work and home life. But fibromyalgia does not harm your muscles, joints, or organs, and there are many things you can do to control it.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome-a set of symptoms that happen together but do not have a known cause.

Doctors can find out if you have fibromyalgia based on two things. One is widespread pain, which means the pain is on both sides of your body above and below the waist. The other is tenderness in at least 11 of 18 points when they are pressed.

You may be able to control your symptoms with regular exercise and by finding better ways to handle stress. Good sleep habits are very important, too. If you have trouble sleeping, changes to your routine, schedule, and sleep surroundings can help. Counseling can help you cope with long-term (chronic) pain.

If your symptoms are troublesome, your doctor can prescribe medicines that help you feel better. Some people with fibromyalgia also find complementary therapies helpful. These include acupuncture, massage, behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques.

Heartburn is a feeling of burning, warmth, heat, or pain that often starts in the upper abdomen just beneath the lower breastbone (sternum). This discomfort may spread in waves upward into your throat, and you may have a sour taste in your mouth. Heartburn is sometimes called indigestion, acid regurgitation, sour stomach, or pyrosis. It is not caused by problems with your heart, although sometimes heart problems can feel like heartburn.

Heartburn may cause problems with swallowing, burping, nausea, or bloating. These symptoms can sometimes last up to 2 hours or longer. In some people, heartburn symptoms may cause sleep problems, a chronic cough, asthma, wheezing, or choking episodes.

Heartburn usually is worse after eating or made worse by lying down or bending over. It gets better if you sit or stand up. Almost everyone will have troubles with heartburn now and then.

Heartburn occurs more frequently in adults than in children. Many women have heartburn every day when they are pregnant. This is because the growing uterus puts increasing upward pressure on the stomach.

Symptoms of heartburn and symptoms of a heart attack may feel the same. Occasionally, a person may dismiss serious symptoms as "just gas or indigestion." If you have a history of heart problems or risk factors for a heart attack, your heartburn symptoms may indicate a more serious problem and need to be checked by your doctor.

Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver. In time, it can lead to permanent liver damage as well as cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Many people do not know that they have hepatitis C until they already have some liver damage. This can take many years. Some people who get hepatitis C have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis C. But most people who are infected with the virus go on to develop long-term, or chronic, hepatitis C. Although hepatitis C can be very serious, many people can manage the disease and lead active, full lives.

Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus. It is spread from one person's infected blood to another person's blood.

Experts are not sure if you can get hepatitis C through sexual contact. If there is a risk of getting the virus through sexual contact, it is very small. You cannot get hepatitis C from casual contact such as hugging, kissing, sneezing, coughing, or sharing food or drink.

Many people have no symptoms when they are first infected with the hepatitis C virus. If you do develop symptoms, they may include: Feeling very tired, joint pain, belly pain, itchy skin, sore muscles, dark urine, yellowish eyes and skin (jaundice). Jaundice usually appears only after other symptoms have started to go away.

Most people go on to develop chronic hepatitis C but still do not have symptoms. This makes it common for people to have hepatitis C for 15 years or longer before it is diagnosed.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), also called "irritable bowel," "irritable colon" or "spastic colon," is a common condition that affects between 25 and 55 million Americans, the majority of whom are women. The condition most often occurs in people in their late teens to early 40s.

In essence, the condition is a combination of abdominal discomfort or pain and altered bowel habits: either altered frequency (diarrhea or constipation) or altered stool form (thin, hard, or soft and liquid).

People with IBS have traditionally been described as having "constipation-predominant," "diarrhea-predominant," or an alternating pattern of constipation and diarrhea. Each type represents about a third of the overall IBS population.

IBS is not a life-threatening condition and it does not make a person more likely to develop other colon conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or colon cancer or any diseases of the heart or nerves. Yet IBS can be a chronic problem that can significantly impair quality of life in those that have it. For example, people with IBS miss work 3 times more than people without IBS and the condition is associated with absenteeism from school, decreased participation in activities of daily living, alterations of one's work setting (shifting to working at home, changing hours) or giving up work altogether.

Being obese means having so much body fat that your health is in danger. Having too much body fat can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea, and stroke.

You can use a measurement called a body mass index, or BMI, to decide whether your weight is dangerous to your health. The BMI is a combination of your height and weight. If you have a BMI of 30 or higher, your extra weight is putting your health in danger.

When you take in more calories than you burn off, you gain weight. How you eat, how active you are, and other things affect how your body uses calories and whether you gain weight. If your family members are obese, you may have inherited a tendency to gain weight. And your family also helps form your eating and lifestyle habits, which can lead to obesity.

Also, our busy lives make it harder to plan and cook healthy meals. For many of us, it's easier to reach for prepared foods, go out to eat, or go to the drive-through. But these foods are often high in fat and calories. Portions are often too large. Work schedules, long commutes, and other commitments also cut into the time we have for physical activity.

There is no quick fix to being overweight. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in.

It's a frustrating, annoying problem -- accidental urine leakage -- and typically caused by various problems. Although it may be more common as a person ages, urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging. Having an overactive bladder makes it more difficult to perform daily activities, yet many people don't consider the problem a valid medical condition, according to a new study.

Researchers found three-fourths of people with overactive bladders said the condition interfered with daily activities. But less than half of them would consider seeing a doctor about the problem or consider an overactive bladder a valid medical condition. The study also showed that an overactive bladder can take a toll on people's emotional health, with about one-third with the condition noting that it made them feel depressed or stressed.

Overactive bladder (OAB) affects about one in six adults over age 40, causing symptoms such as an urgent need to empty the bladder, more frequent urination during the day and night, and incontinence.

Many health risks related to tobacco smoking can be reduced by smoking cessation. Smokers who quit smoking before the age of 50 have up to half the risk of dying within 15 years compared to people who continue to smoke, and the risk of dying is reduced substantially even among persons who stop smoking after age 70. The risk of lung cancer is 30% to 50% lower than that of continuing smokers after 10 years of abstinence, and the risk of oral and esophageal cancer is halved within 5 years of cessation. Former smokers also lower their risk of cervical and bladder cancer.

In a randomized trial of heavy smokers, the long-term follow-up results demonstrated that compared with the nonintervention group, those randomized to a smoking cessation intervention experienced a 15% reduction in all-cause mortality rates. The smoking cessation intervention consisted of a strong physician message plus 12 group sessions and nicotine gum delivered during a 10-week period. Decreases in the risk of lung and other cancers as well as coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease contributed to the benefit in the group randomized to the smoking cessation intervention.

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the tissues in the back of the throat and the tonsils. The tissues become irritated and inflamed, causing a sudden, severe sore throat.

The most common symptoms of strep throat are a sudden, severe sore throat; pain or difficulty swallowing; fever over 101 F; swollen tonsils and lymph nodes; and white or yellow spots on the back of a bright red throat. Strep infection may also cause a headache and abdominal pain. Less commonly, strep throat can cause a red skin rash, vomiting, loss of appetite, and a general feeling of discomfort or illness.

The incubation period-the period from when you are first exposed to the bacteria until you develop symptoms-is 2 to 5 days.

You are considered contagious (able to spread the infection to others) while you still have symptoms; you are usually no longer contagious within 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotics. However, if you do not seek treatment for strep throat, you may continue to be contagious for 2 to 3 weeks even if your symptoms go away.

In general, sore throats are most often caused by a viral infection and not strep bacteria. Strep throat does not occur with coldlike symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny or stuffy nose. The more coldlike symptoms you have, the less likely it is that your sore throat is a strep infection.

One of the most important questions many people have about vaccines is: Are they safe? Parents, especially, may be concerned about the many vaccinations recommended for infants and young children.

Experts who monitor the use of vaccines agree that today's vaccine supply in the United States (US) is the safest and most effective in history. All vaccines undergo years of testing before they are approved for use. Once they become available, vaccines are continually checked for safety and effectiveness. Any problems that arise can be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which reviews the problems and further investigates those determined to be vaccine-related. Appropriate actions may be taken, up to and including withdrawing the vaccine from use.

Like any medication, no vaccine is 100% safe; however, most people experience no side effects after vaccination. If side effects do occur, they are usually mild. Typical mild side effects are soreness, swelling, or redness at the spot where the injection was given, or mild fever. Severe side effects, including severe allergic reactions, are extremely rare.

The most important thing to remember is that the benefits of immunization are much greater than any possible risks. Vaccines protect us from many serious diseases. Thanks to vaccines, most people in the US have never seen a case of polio, measles, or diphtheria. But before vaccines were available, these and other diseases caused widespread illness, complications, and death.

If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain types of cancer, gout (joint pain caused by excess uric acid), and gallbladder disease. Being overweight can also cause problems such as sleep apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep) and osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints). The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have health problems. Weight loss can help improve the harmful effects of being overweight. However, many overweight people have difficulty reaching their healthy body weight. Studies show that you can improve your health by losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds.

How you eat, how active you are, and other things affect how your body uses calories and whether you gain weight. If your family members are overweight, you may have inherited a tendency to gain weight. And your family also helps form eating and lifestyle habits, which can lead to weight gain.

Today’s busy lives make it harder to plan and cook healthy meals. For many of us, it's easier to reach for prepared foods, go out to eat, or go to the drive-through. But these foods are often high in fat and calories. Portions are often too large. Work schedules, long commutes, and other commitments also cut into the time we have for physical activity.

There is no quick fix to being overweight. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. To have lasting results, weight loss should be approached methodically, and viewed as the beginning of a lifelong commitment toward improved health.

It is hard to change habits. You have to be ready. Make sure this is the right time for you. Are you ready to make a plan and stay on it? Do you have the support of your family and friends? Do you know what your first steps will be? Have you consulted your physician for a health assessment and to receive guidance in setting reasonable goals?

Most people have more success when they make small changes, one step at a time. For example, you might eat an extra piece of fruit, walk 10 minutes more, or add more vegetables to your meals.

Studies show that people who keep track of what they eat are better at losing weight. Keep a notebook where you can write down everything you eat and drink each day. You may be surprised to see how much you are eating. As you keep track of calories, look at whether you skip meals, when you eat, how often you eat out, and how many fruits and vegetables you eat. This will help you see patterns that you may want to change.

You may want to write down the amount of physical activity you've had each day and compare the calories you burned to those you took in.

When you stray from your plan, do not get upset. Figure out what got you off track and how you can fix it. Focus on your determination to make a lifestyle change, not your momentary lapse with an irresistible food item.