20th May is the day set as the commemoration of the first clinical trial and that of International Clinical Trials Day (ICTD).
Scurvy was a deadly disease in 1700s and there were a lot of conflicting ideas about how to treat it. James Lind carried out his trial whilst serving on HMS Salisbury in 1747 comparing six of the proposed remedies. All his scurvy patients were given the same general diet but this was supplemented with various additional items, including cider, elixir vitriol, vinegar, seawater, nutmeg and (crucially) oranges and lemons. In just six days, those patients taking citrus fruits were fit for duty. This enabled Lind to make the link between citrus fruits in the diet and prevention of scurvy and thus clinical research was born.
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