Did you know the first randomized clinical trial began on May 20, 1747? That’s why we celebrate this Friday as International Clinical Trials Day.
James Lind, MD, began the first clinical trial aboard the HMS Salisbury to attempt to treat scurvy, a common malady that afflicted sailors. His hypothesis was that the introduction of acids would combat the issues. His 12 participants all showed the same symptoms and were in the same environment, ruling out environmental causes. The participants were paired and assigned different foods to address their symptoms. Those allocated citrus fruits (2 oranges and one lemon every day) experienced “the most sudden and good visible effects”, followed by those who were assigned to the group instructed to drink a “quart of cider a day”.
The published work, just like our papers today, outlines the nature of the disease, the causes, and the possible cures. You can read Dr. Lind’s publication at The James Lind Library.
I also want to thank each patient who has participated in a clinical trial. Without your support and cooperation, we would not be able to continue advancing health.