Should You Join an Alzheimer’s Study?

Why a clinical trial might be the right fit.

(Editor’s note: This content is provided by Antidote, a Next Avenue sponsor.)

Even if you’ve worried about memory loss, you may not have considered participating in an Alzheimer’s study.

Currently, more than 5 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s. Experts predict that number could triple by 2050.

Unfortunately, there are no current treatments that slow or stop disease progress, or even treat symptoms effectively. Some current Alzheimer’s research is investigating whether earlier intervention is the right approach for slowing or stopping the disease.

For a new treatment to make it to pharmacy shelves and to patients, it must first make its way through the clinical trial process. Clinical trials help research potential new treatments for diseases like Alzheimer’s. Up to 80 percent of clinical trials are delayed because of lack of volunteers.

Trials don’t just need volunteers who have already been diagnosed with the disease. Some trials look for volunteers without symptoms at all, or with some memory loss symptoms but not an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Are you experiencing symptoms like forgetfulness, disorientation or trouble making decisions? Early intervention through a clinical study may be an option for you. See if you can take part.

If you’re unsure of the benefits of participating, you’re not alone. While around 2 million Americans volunteer for clinical research studies every year, there are still a lot of misconceptions out there about how they work and who can take part.

Here are five reasons to consider taking part in a memory loss study and making an impact on Alzheimer’s research.

  1. Studies need volunteers who have and have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to take part. Clinical research into Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss isn’t just for those who have already been diagnosed. Alzheimer’s studies are also looking for participants with mild cognitive impairment, or even those who aren’t showing symptoms at all.
  2. Participants receive world-class care. Often, research studies are held at some of the top hospitals around the country. You’ll also have the opportunity to talk directly with the experts conducting the research. The care you receive is almost always free as well.
  3. Not all trials use a placebo. It’s a common misconception, but not all trials test a study drug against a placebo. Instead, some compare existing treatments against each other, or a new treatment to the standard of care. Some trials also allow you to continue taking the study drug after the trial is complete.
  4. Participating is more convenient than you might think. There are currently 459 Alzheimer’s studies looking for volunteers in the United States. Chances are, there’s one in your neighborhood. Some trials look for participants to join from home, too, and track symptoms or answer surveys remotely.
  5. Without volunteers, Alzheimer’s research can’t move forward. Trial delays mean it could take even longer for new treatments to reach the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. When you volunteer for a clinical trial, you’re shaping the future of Alzheimer’s research and bringing us closer to a cure.

Your doctor can also help you make the decision to participate in a trial and explore your options. Volunteering may be a way for you to receive quality care while moving the needle on critical Alzheimer’s research.

By Nancy Ryerson
Nancy Ryerson is a skilled digital communicator with experience in social media and journalism in the health care space.

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