Gareth - Interview 11

Age at interview: 49

Brief outline: Gareth has taken part as a healthy volunteer in two studies run by a diabetes research group, including a recent one which involved giving him adrenaline and taking fat biopsies. He declined to take part in one which involved being injected with insulin.

Background: Gareth is an engineering manager. He is married with two teenage children. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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 Gareth was first invited to take part in a research study as a healthy volunteer in 2008. It was a study looking at metabolism, run by a diabetes research group, and involved giving blood samples. He had hoped it would also include a body mass scan, but the researchers already had enough volunteers for that element. Gareth was interested because he likes to keep healthy and monitors his exercise and weight carefully, and found it helpful to have some extra information about his health. There is a family history of high cholesterol, and his father died in his 50s from heart disease, so it was reassuring to have the blood tests.

He also felt it was important to help the research so other people could benefit in future. As an engineer, he knows it is essential to understand how something is normally supposed to work, so you know what to do when a problem arises. In the same way, understanding how normal metabolism works in a healthy body may help improve treatments for people with diabetes.
About a year later, he was invited to take part in another study by the same group, which would have involved being injected with insulin. Gareth was a bit surprised (thought not particularly worried) to discover his results from the first study had been included on a DNA database, which was then used to recruit people for further studies. He decided against that study, as he did not want to be exposed to any possible risk from having a substance injected unnecessarily. Insulin was something he associated with illness.
Most recently, he was asked to join a study on the metabolism of adrenaline. Although this also involved being given a substance, in this case he felt adrenaline sounded safer than insulin, and it was something he felt familiar and comfortable with from his exercising. However, he did send the information off to two of his uncles who are doctors, to get their opinion about it before saying yes. The study also involved injecting radioactive xenon, which his wife was a bit worried about. Gareth took some questions with him to the clinic appointment and felt they were all answered to his satisfaction, so he agreed to take part. He had two cannulae taking blood from the back of his hand and his thigh, and a drip into one arm to give the adrenaline. All of that was fairly straightforward. Then two fat biopsies were taken, one from his thigh and one from his stomach. This was rather more uncomfortable and left quite a big bruise for a week, though he had been warned this would happen.
He has felt well informed and well cared for throughout, and trusts the staff to look after his data and samples appropriately.


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