There are times in life when we have to make difficult, but necessary choices that will certainly have a major impact on our future. My wife was recently presented with just such an issue by her doctor regarding her health and I am very proud and optimistic about her decision. My wife has Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease and she is only 53 years old. Over the past few months her cognitive issues have become more concerning as they have slightly deteriorated despite the fact that she takes medication which is supposed to slow the progression down. At her most recent doctor’s appointment, she was asked if she would be willing to take part in a clinical trial and research study dedicated solely to Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Mild/Moderate Cognitive Impairment. The doctor explained to both of us what the program consisted of and then said the ball was in my wife’s court now. We obviously needed a few minutes to talk about this new development as it was a major decision to make and it was just a little bit frightening and overwhelming.
Alzheimer’s Research and Clinical Studies
According to http://www.alz.org clinical trials are research studies conducted on people to determine whether treatments are safe and effective. Clinical studies are the best way for researchers to find new ways to detect, slow, treat and hopefully someday prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Types of clinical trials include;
- · Treatment trials to test new treatments or combination of treatments
- · Diagnostic studies to find new tests and procedures for diagnosing or treating conditions
- · Screening studies to test methods to identify diseases or conditions at their earliest stages
What’s The Difference Between A Clinical Trial And A Clinical Study?
Clinical trials technically refer only to those clinical studies involving drugs and other therapies aimed at slowing or stopping a disease, the terms are often used interchangeably. In the case of my wife, she is going to be given an experimental new drug for Alzheimer’s disease taken orally and closely monitored for a couple of months. Should the new drug show noticeable improvement in my wife, then she will have to undergo a drug infusion bi-weekly for the remainder of the trial.
Why Clinical Trials And Studies Are Needed
Scientists are making great strides in identifying potential new interventions to help diagnose, slow, treat and entirely eliminate Alzheimer’s disease, but in order for this to be accomplished tens of thousands of volunteers are needed to participate in these trials and studies. It is reported in http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers that Alzheimer’s research can move forward only if people are willing to volunteer for clinical trials and studies. Before any drug or therapy can be used in clinical practice, it must be rigorously tested to find out whether it is safe and effective in humans. Today, at least 50,000 volunteers, both with and without Alzheimer’s, are urgently needed to participate in more than 175 actively enrolling clinical trials and studies in the United States. To reach that goal, researchers will need to screen at least half a million potential volunteers.
I am clinging to the hope that the new experimental drug trial and treatment program my wife is participating in will be extremely effective and quite possibly the cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but I am grounded enough to understand the harsh reality that it may not work at all. Doctors and researchers may never find a cure unless more people volunteer to participate in these trials and studies. My wife is my hero and I would give anything to have her back as I sadly miss the woman who is locked away somewhere in there.