Reporter takes CDC battery of tests being offered
by Alan Reed
Aug 29, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lisa Rogers models her “paper pajamas,” complete with fashionable masking tape after a visit to body measurements.  The paper clothing provides comfort and easy access to NHANES test personnel as they conduct their examinations.
Lisa Rogers models her “paper pajamas,” complete with fashionable masking tape after a visit to body measurements. The paper clothing provides comfort and easy access to NHANES test personnel as they conduct their examinations.
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To better understand the experience of a surveyed volunteer at the United States Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutritional Examination survey, I volunteered to undergo tests during their dry run and open house.

The night before, I was told to fast after midnight to give a true reading of the levels of different substances in my blood. I am not much of a breakfast eater, so I did not mind that condition of the test. Study Manager Jacque DeMatteis said that volunteers with afternoon testing sessions are not asked to fast all morning.

At 8:30 a.m., I arrived at the four trailers in the parking lot of the old Main Street school bus garage. The staff welcomed me, and confirmed my appointment before issuing me an identification bracelet with my name and a bar code. The ID bracelet reminded me of the kind worn in hospitals. Test personnel scanned my bar code before every test performed.

I recognized a few people in the waiting room. Cadiz Mayor Lyn Bailey and his wife Teresa joined City Administrator Lisa Rogers and four other volunteers to await their many tests of the morning. Judge/Executive Stan Humphries and School Superintendent Tim McGinnis toured the facility, discussing operations with the personnel there.

After check-in, I was taken to a washroom and asked to change into what I called “paper pajamas.” They were cut in a way that reminded me of hospital scrubs, but decidedly more disposable. The testers gave me a bin for my clothing, shoes and personal items, and stored it in a safe place. Being barefoot, the CDC provided me with a warm pair of socks, with something on the soles to keep from slipping about. It was comfortable, if not exactly fashionable.

The testing schedule seems to be controlled by a monitor on the wall of each room. It tells volunteers where to go and when to be there. My first test of the morning brought me to the spirometry lab to assess my breathing. The friendly tester asked several questions about my medical history, and then had me breathe at a steady rate into a meter. The trick was to exhale forcefully and steadily enough to keep a friendly looking cloud on an LCD screen between a set of lines. She said it was measuring my nitrous oxide levels.

The next test had me puffing as hard as I could into a spirometer. I guess I didn’t blow had enough, because I was asked to repeat several times. Since I was recovering from a cold, I thought I had to be huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf when the battery concluded. The CDC people were nice about it, and offered me a glass of water. It helped.

The next place the magic screen told me to go was to a dietary interview. A volunteer asked me what I ate the previous day, when I ate it, and how much I ate. Several visual aids, such as measured bowls and mugs assisted me to figure out just how much I had eaten. My advice to other volunteers is to keep a list of what he or she eats, when it’s eaten and just how many of any particular item gets eaten or sipped. The interviewer counts water in her questioning, so make a note of that as well.

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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