A big breakthrough!
Okay I’m trying to remain calm because nothing is set in stone yet. However, I’m very excited because as of yesterday anyway we have the first person who is eligible for the experiment I proposed using what I call, “big idea.” Now for those of you who have been following along, this may be confusing because I already have several datasets using this new thing I’ve created, but this is a little different. Okay a lot different and I’ll explain why.
Time flies, right? I mean almost eight months ago I came up with big idea and we’ve been working to get data using this new thing I’ve created since. Unfortunately it hasn’t been smooth sailing. We’ve gotten data from several participants and even in a pre-clinical setting, but while the data helps me build a case for big idea, it’s not THE big idea. Because really big idea was two parts.
The first part was equipment, I had to build some equipment to do the thing I cannot talk about, hence the vague talking about stuff without talking about it. With me so far? Well the equipment building was the easy part. I had the idea, I knew how to build the stuff, hospital-PI threw a bunch of money at me, and let’s say a month later, we had all the equipment we needed and then some. Great, but that’s just the equipment side of things.
The second part of big idea was the experiment. The experiment I’ve created is super important for what I want to do and I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about how to implement it. Hospital-PI and I sat down and discussed how we want to do the experiment almost the same day I proposed the equipment side of big idea. We came to a tentative agreement on what we should do and how to do it. That was basically the end of the story until fairly recently.
The problem with big idea is that, on the experiment side of things, the criteria for the people we would try to recruit for the project is super strict and there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room for changing it unfortunately. So for the past few experiments we’ve been relaxing the criteria a lot, and I do mean a lot, in order to get any data at all.
The good news is those experiments have taught us a lot. There were things we needed to do differently, things that needed to be fixed, weird issues we didn’t anticipate (cables being pulled or something or another). So it’s not like we’re just screwing around, we’re actually making a lot of progress and the last dataset we collected with a participant in particular looks very promising. Unfortunately, none of those datasets were big idea, they were big idea lite, little idea even (haha).
But that has now changed… maybe. We finally have one (of hopefully 10-12) people who are eligible for the study and fit our criteria. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I have my hopes up. It has been such a hard thing to even get to this point that I can’t help it. Between then and now a whole lot of things could happen. The person could cancel, the person could tell us no, the person could, in fact, turn out to be ineligible. It’s hard to say, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will work out.
Does this make a ton more new and extra work for me? You bet, but I’m excited anyway! This could be… big.
Glad you found somebody! I also think it’s great that you’re able to do “dry runs” since you can’t afford to waste even one session with an ideal patient.
You say this makes new work for you – does that mean you’d be taking data with this person soon, instead of waiting for the end of summer when you were originally planning to gather everyone?
So is Big Idea targeted at a very specific population, or is it something about the style of equipment you were able to make and/or the particular experiment design that makes the criteria so stringent? If I’m pushing too far into secret territory then just shoo me away 🙂
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June 30, 2022 at 9:20 pm
I agree dry runs are a good use of our time. We’ve learned a lot, so once we find the perfect people we won’t get wasted data. I’m hopeful anyway.
Yes, this is a time sensitive thing with regard to eligibility, so data is collected as the people become available, it’s a particular clinical population so we work around the schedule of other doctors and the people that get referred to us (assuming those people want to work with us).
You’re fine… for now!! Haha. Big idea is targeting a specific population, but the implications are wider than that. It will make more sense when we get the first publication, but that’s about as much as I can say on it for now unfortunately.
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July 2, 2022 at 10:49 am
Is there somewhere to fill out a form that can funnel people into appropriate studies? I am not even talking just about the big idea. How do researchers ,in general,find subjects without giving away precisely what you are doing? Is there a giant anonymous database somewhere? Does the VA have a list?Do you spend countless hours scouring Facebook for test subjects, get in good with rehab clinics? Put out scary ads that say medical test subject needed? Forgive me if you covered this and I missed it somewhere along the way. Off topic update.:my double vaxed and boosted healthy 19 year old is still miserable a week out. COVID is still a thing.
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June 30, 2022 at 11:39 pm
No worries! I don’t mind answering this question and it’s good to talk about.
Normally we recruit using fliers for a particular project. We put them up around the area (schools, within the hospital, etc.) with details about the type of people we’re looking for and some very general details about the experiment.
There are databases where people can volunteer, but we don’t typically use those. Since we’re a research hospital, when we’re looking for specific people (i.e. people with certain medical conditions or histories) we try to work with doctors in the field to find people who may be interested.
Thanks for the update! I’m sorry he’s still having trouble. I wish you both the best and that he recovers soon. COVID is awful, we just had someone in our lab test positive, thankfully we all tested negative, for the time being anyway.
July 1, 2022 at 2:41 pm