Learn about clinical trials and studies that are improving dementia treatment and leading scientists closer to a cure for Alzheimer’s disease
In the not so far off past, doctors and medical researchers knew very little about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Maybe you remember a grandparent or great-grandparent who was deemed “confused” or “delirious” as they aged. Along with your family members, you may have recognized behavioral changes, memory loss, or just overall confusion. In the past, families tried to care for loved ones at home or moved them into nursing homes. While no cure for Alzheimer’s has been found, dementia treatment has come a long way. These advancements are due in part to clinical trials and studies.
Types of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Treatment Research
Clinical trials are research studies conducted in people to determine whether treatments are effective and safe. Human volunteers are the best way to improve dementia treatment, discover prevention methods, and eventually cure Alzheimer’s disease. [Source]
These types of clinical studies focus on finding better ways to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stages. The goal of diagnostic studies is to create an easy-to-follow method for doctors to diagnose people at risk for dementia, even before they begin showing symptoms
Quality of Life Studies
QUnlike the other two research methods mentioned so far, Quality of Life Studies are less medical and more socially scientific. The goal of this type of research if to better understand how Alzheimer’s and dementia impacts those with the disease, their family members, and caregivers. Using this information, researchers can figure out the best type of support, education, or training needed to solve some of the challenges faced by these people.
Dementia Treatment Trials: Hope for a Cure
There are two main types of clinical studies that test new dementia treatment options. The first type is treatments that are aimed at reducing the symptoms. During this type of trial, new drugs and variations of the drug are tested. The second type is treatments that are aimed at slowing or stopping the disease. Some of the experimental drugs being tested in these types of trials are entirely new ways of treating Alzheimer’s. [Source]
The benefits and risks of participating in a dementia treatment trial are serious and need to be greatly considered. These types of trials often need volunteers who have dementia, are at risk for developing dementia, and healthy individuals with no dementia issues. Here are some things to consider before participating in a clinical trial:
- Take an active role in your or own health care
- Gain access to potential dementia treatment before it is widely available
- Receive access to expert medical care and attention, free of cost, while participating
- Help future generations by contributing to meaningful research
- Unpleasant or even serious side effects related to the treatment being studied
- The treatment may not be effective
- You may not be part of the treatment group, rather receiving a placebo as part of a control group
- Potential for inconvenience, including frequent medical exams or overnight hospital stays
Do Your Research & Make Informed Decisions
Making the decision to involve yourself or a senior loved one in an Alzheimer’s or dementia treatment clinical trial is a major decision. Carefully consider the benefits, risks, and safety concerns. Talk extensively with doctors and medical professionals who are familiar with your loved one’s background. Only utilize accredited and legitimate research trials, such as the trials conducted at the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
The fact is participating in a clinical trial is not the best option for every person with dementia. For those with middle or late-stage Alzheimer’s, the constant medical examinations and busy schedule may cause more harm than good. If you’re searching for non-medical dementia treatment that helps seniors manage the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s, consider ComfortCare Homes. Our unique approach to dementia care is focused on meeting the needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s, not simply placing them in general assisted living.