Frequently Asked Questions

What types of studies are being done at the HNRCA?

Our scientists are testing many theories about nutrition, aging and health. Through nutrition and exercise research we study conditions and diseases that affect the quality of life and health care costs of older adults. These include studies of immune function, vitamin and mineral absorption, physical capacity as well osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration. Our research results have lead to dietary policy recommendations which impact millions of older Americans.

How long are the studies?

The length of each study can vary from one day to one year or more. Nonresident studies require volunteers to make occasional visits (which vary among studies) to the HNRCA for testing or meals. Some studies require volunteers to live at the HNRCA for a specified period of time.

Can I participate in a study if I’m taking medication?

Each study has different eligibility requirements. When a researcher plans a study, he or she determines which medications may interfere with the purpose of the study or testing. Medications, such as antidepressants, steroids, and estrogen are common exclusions for many of our studies.

Where is the HNRCA located and how do I get there?

The HNRCA is located at 711 Washington Street in downtown Boston, adjacent to the Tufts Medical Center. We are accessible by MBTA (Orange line & Silver lineĀ - New England Medical Center stop, Green line – Boylston Street stop). Parking is available at a reduced rate at the Tremont Street garage next to the Wang Center. Directions to the HNRCA.

What are the accommodations like at the Center?

Should your study participation require that you reside at the HNRCA, you will be provided with a private, hotel-quality room and bathroom. Each room is a luxurious suite with a panoramic view of Boston, and is equipped with a color television, VCR, radio and telephone. As a volunteer you also have access to a computer with Internet access, as well as books, videos and games which are available in the Human Studies Unit library.

Can I leave the HNRCA if I participate in a resident study?

Unless a researcher specifically requires that you remain at the HNRCA, you may explore Boston or attend work or school during your stay. You must however, be on the premises for all testing procedures and meals unless special arrangements are made.

Yes! Your time and participation are valuable to us. Depending on the length and complexity of the study, payments ranges from $50 to more than $2000 per study. Payments are issued by check on a scheduled basis throughout the study.

Who volunteers for our studies?

Men and women ranging in age from 18 to 100 years have participated in our research. The majority of our volunteers are from New England, however, many volunteers from across the continental United States have participated. Over 9,000 people have enrolled in the studies since the HNRCA’s opening in 1982.

How do I apply to participate in a study?

If you are interested in participating in a study, please call us at 1-800-738-7555. Within 24 hours, you will be sent an HNRCA information packet which includes a brief description of the studies we are conducting as well as a medical history questionnaire for you to complete and return to us. Our medical staff will review your questionnaire to determine if you fit the guidelines for our research studies. If meet the initial eligibility profile for a study, you will be asked to come to the HNRCA for a health screening. The results from this screening visit will provide you with valuable information about your current health status, and will be forwarded to your doctor upon request.