Clinical trials are research studies conducted in people to determine whether treatments are safe and effective. Clinical trials are the best way for researchers to find new ways to detect, slow, treat and hopefully someday prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Although many ideas about Alzheimer's treatment and prevention begin in the laboratory, the final stage of testing usually involves clinical studies. No treatment advances to clinical testing unless there is strong evidence indicating it will be as good or better than currently available therapies.
In early clinical studies, a treatment is tested for safety in a small group of volunteers. Later studies, which involve thousands of participants, test how well the treatment works for people. Hundreds of researchers are currently exploring potential methods of treating and preventing Alzheimer's in dozens of studies throughout the United States.
You can participate
Participating in research is an important personal decision. Treatment studies typically last at least several months, and prevention research can run for years.
Most treatment studies require the involvement of a caregiver as well as the person with the disease. And joining a study is not a surefire way to get an experimental drug, since most studies randomly assign participants to receive either the drug or an inactive treatment, called a placebo.
Still, many people find hope and comfort in participating. Others are motivated by the knowledge that they are contributing to scientific and medical research that will help people with Alzheimer's in the future.
If you are interested in taking part in a clinical study: