A word to the wise at Georgetown University. If someone tells you that you can make a quick $150 by catching a cold and presenting yourself as a subject for an experiment involving cold medicines, forget it.
The medical school's physiology department doesn't want you or your cold - assuming that you get a cold and not something worse.
It seems that the word has gotten around at Georgetown that students are needed to participate in an experiment on cold medicine. Students being students, some were observed running around in the night near Georgetown, frolicking and romping in the snow. When asked why he was wearing only a T-shirt and tennis shorts, one student said he was trying to catch a cold so he could get into the experiment.
It turns out, according to physiology department chairman Lawrence Lilienfield, that medical and dental students are being sought - not students in general - and only students who have viral colds. The department is conducting an experiment to determine whether a widely used antihistamine works to relieve the symptons of viral colds.
Lilienfield appeared to be somewhat appalled to learn that students were out trying to catch colds. "If you tell me kids are trying to get sick to get into the study, that's a silly thing," he said.
In the first place, Lilienfield said, he really wants medical and dental students. In the second place, the experiment requires the subjects to spend and entire weekend in bed at Georgetown University Hospital and then come in three times a day for a week for medication and tests. When it's all over, Lilienfield said, the subject gets paid. Not before. And no partial payment for partial completion.
Besides that, Lilienfield had this word of advice for anyone running around minimally dressed in order to catch a cold:
"Good luck. If you think you catch a cold walking around with a minimum amount of clothes on, good luck. That's another old wives' tale. You might catch Pneumonia."
And pneumonia isn't what they're interested in.