Chat GPT and The Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial

By Charles Levin with ChatGPT

[Authors Note. I had an idea for a satiric short story based on a real clinical Alzheimer’s drug trial application form I saw that seemed to be absurd on its face. But I have been experimenting with AI and I thought I’d ask GPT to chime in. The following are my two queries and ChatGPT’s unedited responses. How do you think she did?]

AI-Generated Writer using ChatGPT

AI-Generated Writer

My Query to GPT:

I’d like you to write a fictional short story about a clinical trial for an experimental Alzheimer’s drug. written in the form of a participant consent form, but it should be a sarcastic parody exaggerating what will be required of the drug trial participant including lumbar punctures, overnight stays, possible side effects, screening visits, treatment period, blood tests, follow-up period, and what will participants be paid for visits and overnight stays.

GPT’s Response:

Dear Potential Clinical Trial Participants,

Thank you for your interest in participating in our exciting and groundbreaking clinical trial for an experimental Alzheimer’s drug! We are confident that this new drug will be the cure for Alzheimer’s and we are eager for you to be a part of this journey with us.

Here are the requirements for participating in this clinical trial:

  1. Lumbar Punctures: Participants will be required to undergo daily lumbar punctures for the duration of the study. This will involve having a needle inserted into your spine. Fun!
  2. Overnight Stays: Participants will be required to spend every other night at our clinical trial site for the entire year of the study. This will allow us to closely monitor your progress and ensure the drug is working as intended. Don’t worry, we’ll provide a cozy cot for you to sleep on!
  3. Possible Side Effects: The side effects of this experimental drug are unknown and may include: loss of limb function, the sudden urge to speak in verse, and spontaneous combustion. But don’t worry, these are just minor, temporary side effects that will probably go away after a while.
  4. Screening Visits: Participants will be required to visit our clinical trial site every day for the first month of the study for extensive screening procedures. This will include a full body scan, a mind probe, and a personality transplant. Just kidding, kind of.
  5. Treatment Period: Participants will be required to take the experimental drug for a minimum of one year. This will be administered through a daily IV drip and through subcutaneous injections. Yay, needles!
  6. Blood Tests: Participants will be required to undergo daily blood tests to monitor the drug’s progress. We promise not to drink your blood, but we may sell it to the highest bidder.
  7. Follow-Up Period: After the treatment period, participants will be required to return for follow-up visits for the rest of their lives. We just want to make sure that the drug is still working and that you haven’t developed any new, exciting side effects.
  8. Compensation: Participants will be compensated for their time and inconvenience with a pat on the back and a “thanks for participating” sticker. And for overnight stays, we’ll throw in a complementary freeze-dried meal!

We hope this has provided a clear and thorough explanation of the requirements for participating in our clinical trial. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. We look forward to having you join us on this journey to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s!

Sincerely, The Clinical Trial Team

My response/follow up question:

Add to the story satiric statements about safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of this fictitious drug called MK-007. Talk some more about side effects.

ChatGPT’s response:

P.S. A few more important things to consider before joining our clinical trial:

Safety: The safety of MK-007 has yet to be determined. In fact, it’s possible that taking this drug will lead to a sudden urge to stand on your head and recite nursery rhymes. But hey, what’s a little head-stand when it comes to the pursuit of a cure?

Tolerability: The tolerability of MK-007 is unknown. Participants may experience side effects such as: excessive flatulence, spontaneous singing, and a sudden urge to dance the cha-cha. But who needs to sit still when you have the beat in your feet?

Pharmacokinetics: The pharmacokinetics of MK-007 have yet to be determined. It’s possible that the drug may be metabolized into an entirely different substance that turns your skin green and causes you to grow a third arm. But hey, who doesn’t want to be a mutant superhero?

Pharmacodynamics: The pharmacodynamics of MK-007 are a mystery. It’s possible that the drug may cause you to see things that aren’t there, such as little green men from Mars or a giant pink elephant. But hey, it’s better than being bored, right?

And a few more side effects to consider: Participants may experience vivid nightmares, the sudden urge to collect rubber ducks, or the inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. But hey, it’s all part of the journey to finding a cure!

Remember, these are all just possibilities and we can’t guarantee that any of these side effects will actually occur. But why not take the chance and join us in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer’s? After all, what’s a little dancing and singing when it comes to the greater good?

Sincerely, The Clinical Trial Team


Postscript: the first thing people ask me who have read the above is, “Did you edit GPT’s responses?” The answer is NO—I did not. As a writer, I could have enhanced or added to what GPT offered, but I wanted to show readers and writers what is possible both from a style and content standpoint. The trick is to give GPT very precise prompts—both style direction (“sarcastic”) and content direction (which I lifted from an actual Drug Trial Participant Consent Form).

So, where’s all this AI stuff going? I will share some thoughts and predictions on that in a future blog post. Stay tuned. If you are not already subscribed to my newsletter and would like to read the follow-up to this post, free short stories, and more, you can sign up for my newsletter here

How do you think ChatGPT did in generating this story? Do you find her ability scary or exciting or both? Please leave your impressions, feedback and comments below. I thank you and GPT thanks you:)

Catch up on my original fast-paced thriller NOT SO DEAD and the Sam Sunborn Series They are available on Amazon and
If you like short reads you can really finish, grab a copy of my short story collections: The Last Appointment: 30 Collected Short Stories
Or my new children’s adventure book: Nougo and His Basketball.

And read for FREE some of Charles Levin’s short stories:

I’m Processing
Books Unread
Nora Delivers the Package
The Permission Slip
10 Life Lessons I Learned from Playing Poker
Missing the Ghost in the Palace Theater
Moon Landing Memories
Word Drunk

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  1. Maryann Miller on February 8, 2023 at 2:05 pm

    ChatGPT did a good job with your story. The snark was there for sure, and the humor. I keep hearing about this technology and haven’t decided if I’d embrace it or not. But then, it took me a while to get used to just using a computer and keyboard for writing my own stories. 🙂

    • Charlie Levin on February 8, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Thanks for your feedback! I don’t think AI replaces the human writer yet. For me, I think it can be a great brainstorming tool, and an Unblocker for those of us who are stuck at some point in writing a story. I left this post unedited to show the astounding extent to which the program is capable, but if I were to actually make a story out of it, I would have added to the humor and the snarkiness and put more inflection into it. Still, I think it’s something every writer should have a look at as a tool not a threat.

  2. Karen Hartman on February 8, 2023 at 4:35 pm

    For snark, it’s a good start, but doesn’t compare to genuine human sarcasm😁 As you pointed out, though, you can edit more sarcasm & other human emotions in. Not bad for a test of what it’s capable of.

  3. Devaki Groulx on February 8, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    It’s pretty scary actually! It was well written with all the elements you required, but a little formulaic!
    Our local humorist for the Montreal Gazette also put it to the test , and the results were amazing!
    However, as a former English teacher of ESL, the plagiarism aspect is a big worry! Professors now need even more plagiarism detection sites dedicated to AI! Hopefully, true writers will still rely on their own skills and imagination!

  4. Jeanne Felfe on February 12, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    While the tool did a reasonable job of creating something humorous, as the former president of a writer’s guild, I have concerns that authors will pawn-off AI-developed writing as their own creations. I can see where writing contest rules will have to change to include statements that AI-generated stories are not allowed.

    As an author, I am concerned about plagiarism.

    As a reader, I would feel ripped-off if I purchased a book I thought was written by the author only to learn a computer had generated it.

    • Charles Levin on February 13, 2023 at 7:52 am

      Jeanne, thanks for sharing your comments and concerns. I hear that a lot. But we gave up the manual typewriter for a word processor at some point. I remember people saying at the time that cut and paste was cheating:) Still, I don’t see ChatGPT replacing the creativity and nuance we as (good) writers bring to a story. I chose not to edit this story to show what GPT could do in its raw form. What if I did edit, refine, and turn it into a much better story? I believe I could have done that. Would GPT have in effect given me an outline and a jumpstart? I think so. Just like the Internet has enriched our lives while also providing a platform for bad actors–this has been the history of all technology. For now, I’m choosing to look at this as a tool, not a threat; an enhancement not a replacement. Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    • Yvonne on February 27, 2023 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Jeanne,
      If you enjoyed the story why would you feel ripped off having discovered it was created by AI?
      Yvonne 🦋

  5. Yvonne on February 27, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    Hilarious…in a sad, but too close to reality kind of way. Exciting AI capability, but very scary at the same time! WOW!

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