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Medical Research 101

Pros And Cons Of Doing Medical Research

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There are risks and benefits to researching your own disease.


  • You may discover something your doctor is not aware of.
  • The process of doing research helps you feel in control. 
  • The more you know, the more informed a decision you can make. 
  • If you are insured by a managed care type of insurance policy (such as an HMO): you may not be told about treatments or clinical trials outside the insurer's network.
  • Doing the research may be difficult for a layperson who is not familiar with medicine and scientific method. (A friend can do it for you. Or you can hire a research service). 
  • Doing research defines you to your doctor more as a collaborator than a passive patient. (This is the preferred relationship in any event. There is no certainty in medicine).
  • You may misinterpret what you read. (This is one of the reasons it is critical to discuss all your findings with your doctor).
  • Difficult emotions may accompany your research. (There are methods for coping with emotions).

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