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International Clinical Trials Day

International Clinical Trials Day is held on 20 May each year to commemorate the day that James Lind began his trials into the causes of scurvy.

Lind's experiments in 1747 were run under very different conditions to today. Serving as a surgeon on the HMS Salisbury, his trial consisted of just 12 men, grouped into pairs and given a variety of dietary supplements from cider to oranges and lemons.

The trial only lasted six days but, within that time, there was a noticeable improvement in the group eating the fruit, providing Lind with evidence of the link between citrus fruits and scurvy.

Clinical trials have come a long way since Lind's discovery. Each year on May 20 we pause to remember his work and acknowledge the major improvements in health outcomes that have come since thanks to clincians who are dedicated to finding answers to important clinical questions and members of the community who participate in clinical trials.