Authors of a new study say that establishing a national database of research participants “could play an important role in promoting research integrity and protecting subjects from harm,” reports LiveScience.

In a sleep study in 1980 that involved taking lithium, one participant did not tell researchers that she previously had anorexia and bulimia, which can lead to imbalances in important minerals such as potassium. Lithium is not recommended for people with low potassium, and the patient would have been excluded from the study if the researchers had known about her history of eating disorders. During the trial, she suffered cardiac arrest and died, the authors said.