I'm about to be given an anthrax vaccine. I've been assured I can't get anthrax from taking the vaccine and it looks like research on the vaccine has been ongoing since 9/11. This particular study investigates how one's genes responds to the vaccine. Sound scary? You might wonder why I'd volunteer.
Easy: I'm getting paid to do it. I wish I could say there was a higher purpose than that, but it's all for the money. I passed the telephone screener already and on Thursday I will go for a medical exam before I am officially accepted into the study. For the exam I will be paid $35, and as long as I pass it I will be paid $75 per visit for the 7 month study. The study is being conducted by the university where I earned my degree which somehow makes me feel more comfortable participating.
I've only done two other medical studies in my life but both of them were an easy way to make money. The last study was on the body's reaction to pain. I got paid to experience pain and rate my reaction to various types of pain (like hot, cold and pressure), which was weird but I was in college at the time and needed the money. Before that I participated in an anxiety study.
It isn't hard to find out about these types of studies. Besides radio and newspaper ads, there is a website at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ which lists the details of ongoing trials.