Medical research involves the study of new tests and treatments to improve health. It includes trials of new drugs and medical devices and is usually conducted on volunteers. It can involve testing drugs, surgical procedures, radiological procedures, behavioural therapies, and preventive care. Participants may be of any age. Phase I trials test new drugs and evaluate their safety by determining their dosage range and side effects. Phase II trials are more sophisticated and involve a more significant number of participants.
Clinical research aims to treat a disease, improve the effectiveness of existing treatments, and prevent the onset of new diseases. The methods used in this type of research differ depending on the nature of the disease being studied. For example, in addition to clinical trials, basic research focuses on studying chemical processes and metabolic bases of disease. Preclinical research, on the other hand, involves studies in animal models. It may also investigate the role of diet, vitamins, and minerals in disease prevention. Other types of research focus on diagnostics and screening, which aims to improve the detection of diseases.
Basic research focuses on studying chemical processes in the body, cell and gene development, and disease. Its results are used to develop new treatments and diagnoses. Primary research is usually carried out in a laboratory, where researchers can manipulate variables much more precisely than they can in the real world.
Epidemiological research focuses on the cause of diseases and the distribution in populations. It also focuses on the development and testing of new treatments. For example, scientists have looked at cancer or flu outbreak trends in epidemiological studies. Using these data, they can then determine the causes of the diseases and how to prevent them.
The types of medical research vary, but the general studies fall under two broad categories: epidemiological and clinical. Both types require extensive planning. Therefore, it is essential to understand which type of study is best suited for the desired outcome. In clinical studies, the requirements are high and legal requirements must be met. In noninterventional studies, a study protocol is also needed. However, they all have essential aspects that influence the study's design.
Cohort studies and cross-sectional studies have their advantages and disadvantages. A study is invalid if it does not include an appropriate comparison of two groups. Cohort studies involve following a large group of people over a long period. Among the advantages of a cohort study is that it can be more ethical and practical than a cross-sectional study. They can also help identify risks or risk factors in populations and are often more practical.
Government agencies can fund medical research. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs, and other organizations fund research. The AAMC also advises and analyses government policies and regulations that promote team science. Finally, it sponsors educational programs for senior research leaders.