Lack of Volunteers Slows Progress of Alzheimer's Research

  • A lack of volunteers is delaying progress in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. While other health issues were discussed, this was a major part of the takeaway from a Tweet Chat with the National Institutes of Health that I was invited to participate in recently.


    Frequently, I hear from people with a family history of Alzheimer’s who fear that they will also develop the disease. Naturally, they are anxious about their future and hope that a new drug will soon be found that can prevent or cure the disease. Unfortunately, a cure could be a decade or more away. Still, these people can contribute to researcher’s efforts by volunteering for one of the clinical studies through the National Institute on Aging.

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    One of the NIA’s many websites presents a map of the U.S. When I investigated the site, I was surprised to find that even in my sparsely populated state there are currently 19 clinical trials being conducted on various approaches to aging and Alzheimer’s related treatment. This is partially because of our universities as well as a large medical center, so not everybody will see a list of clinical trials in their state. However, a neighboring state may offer a trial that could work for you.


    For more information, potential volunteers can check the National Institutes of Health registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world.


    You needn’t be affected by Alzheimer’s or even have a family member with the disease in order to participate. Some of the clinical trials are seeking people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as well as people who appear cognitively healthy. Researchers are also interested in those who may be in various stages of dementia and, somewhat surprisingly, people who are aging especially well.


    The NIA presents an amazing array of websites, so even if you don’t want to participate in a study you’ll likely enjoy reading about exercising to stay healthy, general senior health, caregiving, disability, advanced health directives or other  important health topics and specific health related issues. Use the NIA website A-Z Health Topics Index to find reliable information relating to your interests.

    To find out additional information about Alzheimer’s clinical trials, talk to your health care provider or contact NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Education And Referral (ADEAR) Center at (800) 438-4380. You can also visit the ADEAR Center clinical trials database. From there, you can sign up for email alerts that let you know when new clinical trials are added to the database. 


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Published On: December 27, 2013