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The federal government keeps detailed lists of clinical trials recruiting patients with all types of memory problems—from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is the hope of AD investigators that soon there will be prevention trials in people who know that they carry one of the genes that increase the odds of developing AD in later years.
There are many reasons to join a study. Altruism is one, of course. But many people sign on to clinical studies to test experimental drugs with hopes that it will reduce symptoms, reverse the brain changes, or stop the progression of the disease.
There are also thousands of other studies designed to test neurocognitive changes, brain changes, genetic risks, environmental factors, and prevention. There are studies to develop biomarkers that could help identify factors in the brain, blood, or spinal fluid that could be useful in diagnosis or in testing the benefits and risks of experimental treatments.
“The main reason that we know the genes for AD is through these families,” says Kenneth Kosik, M.D., co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California in Santa Barbara. “And knowing the genes have allowed us to figure out what is going wrong in the disease.”
For information on AD and joining a trial, visit these Web sites:
* Alzheimer's Association: alz.org
* Alzheimer's Association Memory Ride: memoryride.org
* Alzheimer's Foundation of America: alzfdn.org
* Alzheimer's Research Forum: alzforum.org
* Clinical Trials: clinicaltrials.gov
* National Institute on Aging: nia.nih.gov