In the Name of Science

I’ve been doing some extra work.  More than one of the regular extras has a self published book that they can’t explain the topic of in less than ten minutes, if at all.  I have so much in common with these people I’m wondering, and quite scared of the possibility of meeting the future Mr. Emily Maloney on set.  So there was a lot of time in the bus the other day because it was snowing outside, something, oddly, that the Russian extras could not stop complaining about. The Russian extras like to complain, mostly in Russian, and the majority of the rest of the foreign extras like to throw out overly cheerful factoids in English that may or may not be made up.  Some of these people are pretty entertaining.  One of them sounded just like Allan Alda. He kept saying things like “trust me” “believe me” “I’m telling you” .

So if you hang out in a bus of foreign extras in Japan long enough I guess you’re bound to hear about a medical study one of them participated in.  So eventually this guy told me that he had recently spent 28 days in a hospital taking a mystery medication that may or may not have been an ADHD medication and having his blood drawn ten times a day.  He said it was so boring that he opted against the catheter and for being stuck with the needle just so he could feel something. He had a photo on his phone of his arms all marked up, but he suspected he got the placebo.

He made 1,000,000 yen for this trial.  That’s $12,128.57 (U.S.)  I’m pretty sure I applied and was rejected for this study.  Highlights of his story included 1. He had a girlfriend who he had just met when he went in and she waited all 28 days for him.  That’s pretty much the most romantic part of the story.  2. A less romantic part of the story was the fact that almost all the participants except for the three on the placebo couldn’t have a bowel movement for about a week. 3. There’s a Japanese guy who pretty much does this full time. The guy who was telling me about the study showed me a photo of the guy who does this full time and he was on the floor leaning up against a hospital wall and laughing.  The guy said that guy had an incredibly low resting heart rate, and he likes bicycles so that guy spends all the money he makes on road bicycles. 4. There was no gym, just hospital beds and a stationary bike that the one guy who had the low resting heart rate spent a lot of time on  5. The nurses looked like real, normal nurses. 6.They kept their calories around 1,200 calories, but when the guy I was talking to threatened to drop out of the study in the last week because he was so hungry, they said he could have all the rice or bread he wanted.

It took me a long time to pull that out of him.  He was happy about the money, but kind of over the whole experience.  I asked him if anything funny happened in 28 days and he said the day after they took the medication for the first time when a nurse went to draw blood from one of the guys that guy (and then the guy I was talking whose first language was not English acted out panic attack or seizure) because he was afraid of needles, but no one knew that was what was going on, and all the greedy study participants were seriously scared about what it was that they had just ingested.



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