If you have a senior loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or another neurodegenerative issue, you may want to know what other treatments could be available in the future to help them. There are many ongoing clinical trials where scientists, physicians, and other researchers are attempting to find treatments that slow, stop, or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other related neurodegenerative diseases.
In a clinical trial, researchers will use drugs, devices, behavioral interventions, or procedures to see how they affect those participating in the trial. A randomized clinical trial will have a group of patients who use one type of treatment (often called the intervention) and another group, called the placebo or control group, that will use a substitute instead of the real treatment. Having the control group makes it easier for researchers to monitor the effects of the intervention. You will likely not know in advance which treatment you or your loved one is receiving.
There are several potential advantages of taking part in clinical trials:
- You gain access to treatments that will potentially help you.
- There’s a feeling of satisfaction knowing that your participation in a trial could help others in the future, even if the treatment is not completely successful.
- You or your loved one may find it interesting to better understand how clinical trials work.
- Typically, you’ll be reimbursed for any expenses incurred during a clinical trial.
There also are risks when you are part of a clinical trial:
- The treatment under investigation may not work.
- You may have side effects from the treatment that is used.
- You may end up not receiving the treatment that is under investigation.
An investigator who is part of the clinical trial should provide informed consent, where they go over the risks and benefits of taking part in the trial.
Despite these risks, many people still like the prospect of taking part in a clinical trial, particularly for health problems like Alzheimer’s disease. If you want your loved to take part in a clinical trial, start with your health provider. There’s always a chance he or she is involved with clinical trials or they are aware of clinical trials underway at nearby hospitals.
Alzheimers.gov is another resource for Alzheimer’s-specific trials.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a TrialMatch service to help you find trials based on your loved one’s specific qualifications. Find trials related to Parkinson’s disease here.
In Manatee County, the Bradenton Research Center is a hidden gem that helps facilitate local participation in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other health areas. Find their contact information here.
Find out more about clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in this article from the website Being Patient.
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