3,500 enroll in health study

More than 3,500 people have enrolled in Duke University's MURDOCK Study, and the study team is recruiting more throughout Kannapolis and Cabarrus County.

The MURDOCK Study has a goal of 50,000 volunteers. To sign up or to learn more, call 704-250-5861 or visit Participants must be 18 or older.

David Murdock, developer of the $1.5billion North Carolina Research Campus biotechnology complex in Kannapolis, gave $35million to Duke University in 2007 to launch the study. Researchers hope to find new ways to combat such problems as obesity, cardiovascular disease, hepatitis C and osteoarthritis.

A diverse group has already enrolled: young and old, with a wide range of conditions, according to a news release from study staff.

Anita Dolan is one local resident who has joined the health study, which is expected to continue for decades.

Dolan was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age 16, nearly 28 years ago. The autoimmune disease afflicts adolescents; the body begins to reject its own bones and cartilage. Cartilage deteriorates, causing extreme pain and complications. Dolan has had numerous surgeries to replace joints and fuse bones, resulting in some physical limitations.

The staff at the Community Free Clinic in Concord enrolled Dolan July 13. According to the news release, Dolan said she hopes her participation will enhance the data and samples collected for the research.

"Even though the technology and resources for joint replacement has come so far and have helped me fight my disease, we are still not there," Dolan was quoted as saying. "I want to help others avoid the severity of my disease."