Healthy Hearts and Healthy Minds


Keeping your body healthy is something that has been instilled in us all our lives. If you take care of your body, you can live longer and have a happier life. Your brain is one of the vital organs that relies on a properly functioning body to have the blood flow needed to perform its daily functions. When your mind has what it needs, you can better solve problems, pay attention, communicate, and more. February is American Heart Month, and your heart is the key to giving your brain the blood flow it needs, along with the rest of your body. Learning how mental health and heart health affect each other along with what easy, healthy changes you can make, are the first steps to live a healthier life.

Mental Illness and Heart Health


Many believe that the relief of symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc. through smoking, eating fatty foods, and drinking are the main contributing factors linking heart disease and mental health. However, there are biological and chemical changes in the body that can also trigger mental health issues and impact heart disease. For example, stress can affect your blood pressure and heart rate from the increase in specific hormones it causes.

Also, those who have mental illness may lack the energy to do the things they need to keep up with their physical health, like exercise.

Getting Healthy


The arteries from the heart are the highways that supply vital oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the brain. Plaque buildup and hardening of the arteries from food and lifestyle choices isn’t just specific to the heart; it’s everywhere in the body. Diet and exercise are the keys to getting your health back on track and maintaining it.

Here are some food choices that will pack a punch:

  • Fish- One or two (4 oz) servings a week can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and can reduce inflammation in arterial walls, which keeps blood flowing to the brain. Salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • A Glass of Red Wine- The compounds in red wine help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They also help thin out the blood, thus helping prevent dangerous blood clots.
  • More Produce- Every serving of fruits and vegetables eaten improves blood flow helping to lower high blood pressure. Produce rich in potassium such as bananas, tomatoes, and artichokes may also help prevent artery walls from thickening.

Exercise is right for your heart and brain. It helps improve heart function, and some activities can give your brain a workout through rhythm, strategy, and coordination. Below are some fun ways to work up a sweat:

  • Walking, Jogging, or Running
  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Circuit Workouts

Continuing clinical research is needed to better understand the diseases of the heart and its relation to mental health. These efforts improve diagnostic and therapeutic options for those affected by mental illness. Click to learn more about upcoming mental health studies at our research sites in DaytonRogers, and Little Rock.





The Benefits of Clinical Research

In 2018, a clinical research study was conducted that investigated a new combination therapy for patients with Anaplastic thyroid carcinomas (ATCs). ATCs account for less than 2% of all thyroid cancers diagnosed in the United States. They have a worse prognosis than other common forms of thyroid cancer. The survival rate for this type of cancer has a low, one-year survival rate.

For the first time in 50 years, the FDA approved the first treatment of ATCs and has become a new standard of care for these patients. Before this study, no chemotherapy treatment for ATC improved the patient’s quality of life or prolonged survival.

The Search for a Cure

Without clinical research, the 600 cases of ATCs diagnosed every year would face the same, grim prognosis that everyone in the previous 50 years faced. It is just one of the numerous reasons why clinical research is so vital. If you get through life without being diagnosed with a condition, or ever having to take any medication, you are lucky. However, many most of us will need medical intervention of sorts at some point in our lives.


The goal of clinical research is to cure a disease or condition. On the path to finding a cure, prevention, and improved treatment option possibilities are discovered that need to be proven effective. After being researched in a lab and with animals, the research will then investigate the safety and effectiveness as it relates to humans. So, if you’ve had a hip replacement, a pacemaker implant, or take blood pressure medication, you can thank clinical research. Other benefits clinical research brings are:

  • A better understanding of new ways to detect, prevent, and treat diseases and their symptoms.
  • Providing potential treatment options to those who have not been able to benefit from current treatments.
  • New ways to deliver an already marketed drug or device.
  • Investigating aspects of care and how to improve the quality of life in persons with chronic illnesses.

Volunteers and Clinical Research

It was 1922, and Alexander Fleming was a captain in the army medical corps. After observing the death of many fellow soldiers from infections developed from war injuries, he set on a course to find a better treatment. His research directly contributed to the discovery of the world’s first antibiotic, penicillin, in 1928.

Clinical research was still in its infancy at that time, but research still relies on volunteers to help determine if a treatment is effective and safe. When Fleming, afflicted with a cold, smeared some of his nose mucous on that petri dish, he became a volunteer for clinical research. If there are no volunteers, there is no research. If there is no research, there are no previously mentioned benefits.

If you are looking to learn more about volunteering for clinical research, click here to view a list of locations and contact information. If you are ready to volunteer for one of our currently enrolling research studies, please fill out our online form so we can help you locate a study right for you.




Clinical Trials are the Future of Medicine

The ultimate goal of clinical trials is to find a cure for all diseases. From these trials, new ways to detect, prevent, and treat these diseases are discovered. Clinical trials play a critical role in  the future of medicine. In this blog, we will review what clinical trials are and the role they play in future treatment options.

What is a Clinical Trial?

Once a new health intervention is discovered, it goes through a series of lengthy tests (called pre-clinical trials) in the lab. If the treatment is deemed safe and effective, it is then tested on humans. This is called a clinical trial.  Discovering how a treatment of device interacts with the human body is a critical step in the process.

Volunteers are selected based on research criteria and experts who administer the clinical trial help record and gather data on the treatment interactions. This data is logged, and determinations are made to prove that  the medication or device is as good as, or better than, currently available options.

Clinical trials are conducted in four phases. Each phase is responsible for determining specific goals. The phases of clinical trial are:

    • Phase I - (20-80 participants) - Determines safety, effectiveness, dose range, side effects, and how the body processes the treatment.
    • Phase II - (100-300 participants) - Determines the safety, and if the treatment has the intended effects on humans.
    • Phase III - (thousands) - Determines safety, effectiveness, side effects, and compares the treatment to commonly used products.
    • Phase IV - (post-market surveillance trials) - Involves people in various populations and is intended to collect additional information after the investigational treatment is approved and marketed to the public regarding its risks, benefits, and use in multiple populations over a more extended period.


Why Clinical Trials Play a Critical Role in the Future of Medicine


With so many current treatments available, you may think  “Why are more treatments needed”? The answer is simple. There are many conditions that exist today that lack a specific treatment or therapy.. These conditions are typically managed by treating symptoms and making lifestyle changes. There are many people diagnosed with illnesses that cannot benefit from current treatments due to  certain pre-existing medical conditions, or the inability to take those treatments.

Clinical trials provide opportunities for these individuals. Clinical trials are the future of medicine, because without them, there would be no way to tell if a medication or device is effective and safe.

Volunteers and Clinical Trials

Participating in a clinical trial provides researchers with valuable information on new treatments; in some cases, it can also mean the possibility for a cure or improvement in a patient's quality of life that's not available with standard therapy. Your participation is entirely voluntary, and you can discontinue the trial at any time.

Learn more about our enrolling clinical trials and how you can volunteer in them.