reporter takes part in Atlantic Path study
appointment and things began without delay when a research assistant ensured I filled out my pre-visit questionnaire properly.
From there I watched an eight-minute video outlining the importance of my participation.
After signing some consent forms I was placed before a computerized questionnaire, which was by far the longest portion of the morning.
Describing this process as thorough would be an understatement. Questions were personal and wide-ranging.
Examples include: What is your highest level of education? Do you drink alcohol and how often? How often do you brush and floss your teeth? Do you smoke? What is your mood?
There are also questions about nationality, hair colour, sleep patterns, physical activity and nutrition.
I’m told you can pick these questions up at the office in advance and fill them out at home, which would speed up your visit.
The weights and measures portion of my visit followed.
Participation in the study is not intended to be a personal health check, but I found these tests to be of great benefit.
The heel ultrasound, a measure of bone health, for example, is done on site. It might take as much as a year to get a similar test completed at your local hospital.
And the Atlantic Path reading, I’m told, is 95-97 per cent as accurate. My bones are strong, by the way.
The body mass index is also important to know, even though it is always a touchy subject for me. That insecurity surrounding the fat content in your body is apparently quite common.
My tests indicated dropping a few pounds wouldn’t be a bad idea and I took the news well. That’s not always the case, I’m told. From there various methods of extracting my tissue samples were employed.
Providing a saliva sample turned out to be the most interesting and difficult method. The study only required a few ounces, but it was surprisingly tough to produce.
As I was spitting into a cup over and over again, I found it funny that while walking to my appointment, I resisted the urge to let a loogie fly. I thought it would be rude.
My advice would be to drink plenty of water before and during your visit.
A glass of water will also help you produce the urine sample the study requires.
They also extracted a few tablespoons of my blood, even though it looked like they took much more.
A final test determined my blood pressure to be well within safe levels before my experienced concluded with the focus of the study’s marketing campaign.
That’s right, I offered my toenails to science.
It’s toenails and not your fingernails because your feet are more likely to be soaking in water while showering and bathing, which makes them a useful part of a sub-study on arsenic levels.
This water study is looking at the effects low to moderate levels of arsenic in drinking water have on the human body.
I also brought in a water sample from home to help this particular process.
Like the other tests, examining my well water is something I wanted done anyway and if someone is conveniently going to do it for me, then all the better.
And that ended my part of a busy day of testing at the Sydney office. The busy day, by the way, was a rarity. The office needs plenty more participants, particularly men.
If you’d like to take part, visit www.atlanticpath.ca. You can also phone 1-877-285-7284 or visit the Sydney office in person at 335 George St.
Research assistant Ashley Drohan, left, takes some vitals from
reporter Greg McNeil during his visit to the assessment clinic for the Atlantic Path study in Sydney.