Since over 5 million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer’s disease, and every 67 seconds another person is diagnosed, it’s fitting that we as a nation increase awareness through all possible channels. This disease must be stopped or it will eventually destroy not only our families but our health care system and our economy.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the person who has the disease. It irrecoverably affects the lives of all those who know and love the person. One in ten people in the U.S. are direct caregivers to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. These caregivers are at high risk of developing their own health problems due to the stress and worry of their daily lives. In fact, at the International Alzheimer’s Conference this year, it was announced that long-term caregiving can seriously limit the life of the caregiver, taking up to ten years off of his or her lifespan.
Researchers are scrambling to find a way to prevent or cure this disease and they are approaching it from all directions. There isn’t time to wait for one clinical trial to come to a conclusion before another begins. Trials that are looking at viruses, bacteria, toxic proteins, new pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines and integrative methods are simultaneously recruiting research dollars and research volunteers. There is a distressing lack of both at this time.
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI) says that researchers interview nearly 30,000 people in order to find 2000 qualified volunteers for a study. Those numbers are taken from people who actually volunteer and volunteers are a small part of our population. Many people aren’t aware that clinical trials often require healthy volunteers. Yet 80 percent of the research trials fail to recruit enough people to continue their study.
If you are willing to join the fight against Alzheimer’s, sign up on the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch, the Banner Alzheimer’s institute’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry or go to the National Institutes of Health clinical trials website. Read about how badly volunteers are needed. Look over the provided maps to see what trials are being conducted near you. Then give serious thought to volunteering.
Whether you have a genetic link to Alzheimer’s, are developing Alzheimer’s symptoms or are completely healthy, consider giving this much of yourself toward Alzheimer’s prevention and/or cure. Once you’ve researched opportunities, decide what is right for you.
Don’t forget caregivers, either. If you are a caregiver, seek support from other caregivers. If you know someone who is a caregiver, let that person know that there is help available from those who’ve walked in their shoes.
Let’s work together to help those who must live with this disease while we fight to find a cure. Volunteering and offering support are both available actions. What better month to follow up our good intentions with actions than November?
Published On: November 02, 2014