Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials in Massachusetts

Fotolia 9168546 XS Caregivers of those living with Alzheimer's disease in Massachusetts may be surprised to learn that many clinical trials are in search of volunteers to participate. For years, the myth has been that there are more patients than trials. Depending upon how far you are willing to drive, you may find some interesting opportunities for your loved one. While the current trials in Massachusetts are limited, things change quickly. And some nearby states, like New Jersey and New York, have many trials on-going.

What are some things to consider about clinical trials?

•          One item that you need to explore is the issue of informed consent. If your loved one lives with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, they may not be able to give their consent. It will fall to their power of attorney or other legal representative. You should check with their legal counsel to see what you are able to do.

•        The issue of a placebo is a tough one for families of those with Alzheimer's. For  clinical trials to be effective, volunteers must be randomly selected for the experimental treatment and for the placebo. The National Institute of Aging at NIH has a thorough explanation of why placebos are important in clinical trials. (http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/participating-alzheimers-disease-clinical-trials-and-studies-fact-sheet)

•    Clinical trials usually don't offer miracle cures. That isn't to say they can't or won't help your loved one, but families are encouraged to keep their expectations realistic.

•    Some Alzheimer's clinical trials may be time intensive. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what will be involved.

How do we find out about Alzheimer's trials in Massachusetts?

Thanks to the internet, there are two quick and easy ways to explore your options.

•          The Alzheimer's Association TrialMatch (http://www.alz.org/research/clinical_trials/find_clinical_trials_trialmatch.asp#matchbox) is a matching service between clinical trials and potential volunteers.

•          The Institute on Aging at NIH has an easy to use Alzheimer's Clinical trial map (http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/clinical-trials) that can help you quickly explore nearby opportunities.

Would you consider participating in an Alzheimer's trial? What concerns do you have about them?

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