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Local clinical trials
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Familial Adult Child Study
Women's Trauma/Spirituality Project
Alzheimer's Disease Medication
Caregivers for Research on Stress
Siblings with late-life Alzheimer’s disease
Memory and Aging Project
Adult Children Study
Family Member who has Memory Loss
Surviving & Thriving:  Preparing for Natural Disasters
Study of the Spousal and Adult Child Caregiver’s Experience with Nursing Home Placement

Familial Adult Child Study

The Familial Adult Children Study (FACS) is a comprehensive approach to understanding the changes in early onset Alzheimer disease.  This approach will likely lead to better treatments in the future

Women's Trauma/Spirituality Project Summary
Sharon Bowland, LCSW, ABD
Dr. Tonya Edmond, Ph.D. Faculty Sponsor

Brief Background/History
Caregivers of those living with Alzheimer's disease have sometimes experienced previous abuse or violence in their relationships with care recipients. Old feelings of anger and hurt may complicate the caregiving relationship, making caretaking more challenging. Research has also shown that past abuse is associated with higher rates of mental and physical health problems as people age. The purpose of this study is to determine whether a mental health treatment for older women who are survivors of interpersonal trauma can significantly improve long term psychological and physical symptoms and spiritual distress often associated with traumatic experiences. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of support group therapy for women aged 55 and older having emotional problems after experiences of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, or domestic violence. Qualified women will do pre-, post-, and follow-up testing and participate in a 11-session weekly (90 minutes) support group. The group seeks to lessen spiritual distress by helping women to remove blocks to their spirituality and to develop new spiritual resources. Examples of spiritual distress include feeling angry at God, feeling alienated from God or one's religious community, conflicts around forgiving self or others, feeling punished by God, or experiencing a lack of support from one's religious community in relation to traumatic experience. However, the intervention does not advocate any particular religious path or practice. The positive use of religious and spiritual resources has been found to have a relationship with lower depression and a greater sense of well-being, in other research studies. Thus, improving one's spiritual connection may be an important resource for caregivers in coping with a history of violence and abuse. The time involvement of participants will vary between six months (group 1) and nine months (group 2).

Eligibility & Qualification Process
Women aged 55 and older must meet the following criteria in an initial phone screening interview (15-30 minutes): 1) speak English; 2) come from a Christian background (not necessary to currently attend church); 3) have a history of one or more types of interpersonal trauma, including domestic violence, sexual assault, or child abuse; 4) have emotional problems related to earlier interpersonal trauma, and 5) be in spiritual distress as determined by their answers to phone screening questions (15-30 minutes). 6) No one who is currently in psychotherapy will be accepted into the study. Discussion of risks and benefits of this research will occur at the 60-90 minute in-person interview. The study is completely voluntary. The research will take place at the Wesley Foundation, 6177 Waterman Street , St. Louis . Some in-person interviews and testing may be completed on the Washington University campus at the School of Social Work .

Those participating will be assisting researchers to understand the experiences of older women living with the effects of earlier traumatic experience, as well as helping them to develop ways of addressing the mental health and spiritual needs of older adult survivors.

Contact Sharon Bowland, MSW, LCSW, at 314.288.4777, to volunteer.

Volunteers Needed for Research on High-Dose Version of Alzheimer's Disease Medication 

Saint Louis University researchers are recruiting volunteers who have moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease to test whether a daily dose of a new slow-release, once-a-day, high-dose version of an FDA-approved Alzheimer's disease medication is safe, well tolerated and effective. The current medication is given twice daily and is a lower dose than the one under investigation.

Approximately 600 volunteers from about 65 international centers are being recruited for the study. Saint Louis University is expected to enroll 15 participants for the trial, which includes seven visits.

Those eligible for the study will have been taking a cholinesterase inhibitor for at least three months. All study participants will continue to take their cholinesterase inhibitor.
Half of the study volunteers will receive the additional Alzheimer's disease medication and the other half, a placebo.

The trial lasts six months and includes seven visits. At the conclusion of the study, participants may be eligible to enroll in a second study where all patients definitely are given study medication for six months.

Eligible volunteers must be at least 50, healthy and diagnosed with probable moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. The research will be conducted at the Wohl Memorial Institute, 1221 S. Grand Blvd.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease characterized by diminished function and nerve cell death in several areas of the brain. This leads to difficulty with reasoning or judgment, disorientation, loss of language skills and memory and a decline in the ability to perform routine tasks. It frequently includes symptoms of agitation, such as pacing and irritability as well as psychotic symptoms. Alzheimer's disease affects 4.5 million Americans and their families.

George Grossberg, M.D., Samuel W. Fordyce Professor and director of geriatric psychiatry at Saint Louis University , is the principal investigator the study.

For information, call 314.268.5385.

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Grossberg, please call Nancy Solomon, Saint Louis University health sciences center media relations at 314.977.8017.

Study Seeks Caregivers for Research on Stress 
Dr. Cheryl Hardy, psychology faculty, Columbia University is conducting research on the psychological stress in caregivers who have a family member diagnosed with dementia.

Dr. Hardy has developed a one-page questionaire to measure this psychological impact. She asks you to contribute to this much needed area of research by your participation.

If you are willing, Dr. Hardy will mail you a questionnaire with a stamped returned enveloped. Confidentiality is assured and maintained. The questionnaire includes only demographic information that cannot and will not be used to identify you personally.

For more information contact:
Dr. Cheryl Hardy
Columbia College
1001 Rogers
Columbia, MO 65216
Phone: 800.231.2391

Study seeks families with 2 or more siblings with late-life Alzheimer’s disease 
Recent estimates indicate that the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will skyrocket in the next few decades -- to as many as 13 million by 2050. Scientists are eager to speed up research efforts to understand the causes and risk factors for AD, so we can figure out ways to treat or even prevent the disease, and avert its impact on millions of people and their families. We need your help.

A major national research study, the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Study, sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services) and supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, is currently underway to find risk-factor genes for AD.

The study seeks families nationwide who have at least 3 members who can donate blood, including:

2 siblings (brothers or sisters) who developed AD after age 60, and
Another family member over age 50 who may have memory loss OR a family member over age 60 who does not have any memory loss.
Participants can live anywhere in the U.S. Participants are needed from racial and ethnic minority communities to make findings relevant to those groups.

For more information about the AD Genetics Study, call toll-free 800.526.2839.

Memory and Aging Project
Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University is studying people age 65 and older who have had mild memory loss for one year or longer. You must have a general history of good health and you'll need a family member or close friend to serve as a co-participant. Study requires 2-3 visits per year to the Center on an annual basis.

There is no cost to participate. You'll receive a thorough assessment of memory and thinking each year.

For more information contact:
Terri Hosto
Washington University School of Medicine
4488 Forest Park Ave., Suite 101
Phone: 314.286.2683

Adult Children Study
What is the Memory & Aging Project Adult Children Study?

The Adult Children Study is a research study that is enrolling volunteers from the community, between the ages of 45-74 to help detect the earliest signs or markers of dementing illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

How will this study help Alzheimer’s disease research?

Research suggests there may be changes occurring in the brain long before the appearance of dementia. Should truly effective treatments for dementing illnesses become available, their biggest effect may be in preventing the occurrence of dementia. However, we need tools to identify asymptomatic individuals at high risk for the disease to allow potential treatments to have maximum benefit. To work towards this goal, we are asking you to consider volunteering for this research study.

What criteria must a volunteer meet to be considered for this study?

Volunteers must:

be 65-74 and the biological child of at least one parent who developed dementia before the age of 80 (verified by review of parent’s medical records)

be 45-74 and the biological child of both parents who never developed dementia (or signs of memory loss) and both lived to age 70 or beyond

be in general good health
have someone who knows you well and is willing to come with you and serve as your collateral source (answer questions about you)
be willing to commit to ongoing participation
What are volunteers asked to do for this study?

Participation involves:

Clinical Assessment
This is a thorough research examination of memory and physical health and requires another person who knows you well (such as a family member or close friend) to accompany you in order to answer some questions about you. You will receive feedback at the end of this session. This visit takes approximately 2 ½ hours to complete.

Genetics (Blood Draw)
Approximately 3 tablespoons of blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm.

Psychometric (Paper & Pencil) Testing
These are tests designed to measure different types of memory. This visit will take approximately 1½ hours to complete.

Structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
A research MRI will be completed that focuses on measurements of various structures and regions of the brain. The duration of the scan is 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Lumbar Puncture (Spinal Tap)
A sample of 3 tablespoons of cerebrospinal fluid is collected from the lower back. A small blood sample is also obtained from a vein in your arm. This procedure is done by a trained neurologist. The duration of the entire visit is 2 hours.

All of these components will be done within a period of a few months during the initial year of your participation in the study.
All participants are offered the option of participation in our brain autopsy program.

How often will I be seen for this study?

You and a person who knows you well (a collateral source) will be asked to come to the Memory and Aging Project offices for evaluations of your memory and thinking at intervals that vary with your age as follows:

Participants aged:

45-64 will be seen every 3 years
65-74 will be seen every year
Updates via secure website or telephone will be completed during the years that you do not complete an in-office clinical assessment and psychometric testing.
If memory and thinking problems are detected during the course of your participation, you will be asked to come in for annual assessments.
You may also be contacted about participation in additional studies affiliated with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center during the course of your participation in the Adult Children Study. These studies are separately reviewed by the Washington University Human Studies Committee and have their own consent form.

Where do I go to participate?
Memory and Aging Project
4488 Forest Park Ave. (at Taylor)
Two blocks east of Kingshighway
How can I get more information?
Contact the Study Coordinator at:

Becky Fierberg, MSW, LCSW
Adult Children Study
Memory and Aging Project
Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center
Department of Neurology
Washington University School of Medicine
4488 Forest Park Ave., Suite 101
St. Louis, MO 63108
314.286.2683; Fax 314.286.2448

Study seeks men living with a family member who has memory loss 
Are you a man caring for a family member with memory loss who:
* Asks repeated questions?
* Follows you around? 
*  Does embarrassing things?
* Has trouble controlling bladder or bowels?
* Needs help taking a bath, getting dressed, or going to the bathroom?
* Has trouble sleeping?

Dr. Judith Gant at UMSL is looking for men to participate in a research program that will help them learn ways to address these and other challenges. This program is open to men in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.  

What is provided?
No-Charge 17-week skills-training (not psychotherapy) in one of two formats:
Group One receives an instructional guide, and check-in calls every other week.
Group Two receives a video series and telephone-coaching calls.  
Done at home. Program is done by mail and telephone—no out-of-home commitments.  
Satisfaction of knowing your confidential information will contribute to future programs for men caring for a family member with memory loss.  
Male Caregivers are paid a total of $60 for two one-hour telephone interviews 17 weeks apart  

What is Involved?
Call 866.669.7140 to learn more and to determine if you are interested.  
Eligible men must be willing to be assigned by chance to either:
Group One (instructional guide) or Group Two (video series) described above.
Men in the program will participate in 2 one-hour telephone interviews about 17 weeks apart.  

For more information call toll-free 866.669.7140, or 314.516.4395, or email

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Surviving and Thriving:
Planning for Natural Disasters

Seeking Caregivers for a Research Study on Planning for Natural Disasters
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab is conducting research on disaster planning among older adults who contend with cognitive challenges. They want to explore some of the distinct issues they and their families may face in planning for natural disasters. They are  looking for:
• Spouses of people who have a diagnosis of a mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s or dementia to take part in a two hour group discussion about planning for natural disasters. The spouse caregiver must live with the person with dementia.
• Adult children who provide care for a parent with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s or dementia to take part in a two hour group discussion about planning for natural disasters. The adult child must live near – but not with – their parent and spend no less than 2 hours per week with their parent.

Conversations will take place locally in St. Louis on Wednesday, May 21.
Members of the research team will direct the group discussions and absolute confidentiality will be maintained. Participation in the group discussions is completely voluntary and participants may choose to withdraw from the research at any time. The group discussions will be taped for the research team’s internal use only.
Participants will be compensated $100.00 for their participation in the discussion and receive an additional $80.00 toward respite care costs. They will also receive copies of educational materials about successful disaster planning.

Please call the MIT AgeLab toll-free at 888.663.9201 if you are interested in participating in this

Follow this link for more information regarding this study

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A Study of the Spousal Caregiver’s Experience with Nursing Home Placement

Research has shown that the spousal caregiver’s experience with nursing home placement is likely different from the experience of their adult children and others.  A nurse working on her PhD at Saint Louis University is interested in learning more about the spousal caregiver’s experience with nursing home placement.  She hopes to use the information gained from her research to develop interventions to help spousal caregivers during this time of transition. 

She is looking for volunteers for her study.  To participate, volunteers must be the husband or wife of the person with Alzheimer’s disease.  The spousal caregiver must be planning to place (within the next 30 days) or to have recently placed (within the past 14 days) their husband or wife with Alzheimer’s disease in the nursing home.  Volunteers will be interviewed in their homes six to seven times over the next 13 months about their experience with placement, their relationship with their spouse, and about the history of their spouse’s Alzheimer’s disease.  Each interview will last up to 2 ½ hours.  To find out more about the study, about the risks and benefits of participation, and about how to volunteer, please contact:  Jan Palmer, MS, RN at 314.249.5391.

Janice Palmer, MS, RN
Saint Louis University School of Nursing
3525 Caroline Street
St. Louis, MO  63104-1099

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Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.