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Clinical Trials 101

2017 – A Year of Trials and Tribulations in Alzheimer’s Research

As the year 2017 rolled in, hopes were high that a few clinical trials would have a positive outcome, resulting in a possible new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.  Although there weren’t any major breakthroughs, the fact is that we learn from our research no matter what the outcome. And that was certainly the case this year. 

Columbus hopes to become first city to screen all seniors for Alzheimer’s

Story on the new “Columbus Memory Project,” which offers every Columbus resident 65 or older a free test giving them a “memory number” as a baseline understanding of memory health, and will also offer the ability to submit a DNA sample through GeneMatch.


Ask the Expert - 'Youngish' People like Me

Dear Dr. Mormino,

I’ve read that Alzheimer’s disease begins decades before it can be detected in people. Are researchers looking for ways to predict Alzheimer’s before then, maybe even in youngish people, like me? 



Alzheimer's patients test deep brain stimulation to help boost memory

Norma-Jean McLaren has been living with two electrodes implanted into her brain for almost a year. Following the recent publication of a new round of results in the trial, the team at Toronto Western is hopeful the technique could help people like McLaren retain, or perhaps even regain, their faculties of memory.

Alzheimer’s Researchers Face A Shakespearean-Like Question

Imagine this: You’re an Alzheimer’s researcher conducting a study that includes genetic testing to determine if participants carry the APOE4 gene, which is linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. Do you inform participants who carry the APOE4 gene about their risk for these conditions? What impact might this knowledge have on the psychological well-being and health behaviors of your study participants? This issue of Alzheimer’s Prevention Bulletin looks at recent research on how people react to such information.

Ask the Expert: GeneMatch

Dear Dr. Roberts,

My father recently enrolled in GeneMatch, a new Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry program. He did a cheek swab and is waiting to be “matched” with appropriate studies. What are the next steps for my father? How can he get the results of the genetic screening so he’ll know if he carries the gene that increases the potential for Alzheimer’s disease?

Ask the Expert: Transparent Studies

Dear Dr. Grill,

My Mom is interested in taking part in a “transparent” preclinical trial on Alzheimer’s disease. As part of the study, she would undergo Positron Emission Tomography, also called a PET scan. Because this is a transparent study, I understand she’ll receive the results of this PET scan. What kind of support should I seek for my Mom if the results show she has amyloid in her brain, a biomarker for Alzheimer’s? Are transparent studies becoming more common for Alzheimer’s disease?​

Inside the Science of Alzheimer's Prevention

Families stalked by a remorseless killer that steals loved ones years before their time. Teams of scientists and health care professionals dedicated to finding the truth. If their work succeeds, the consequences could be profound -- both for the families involved and for the entire world.

It sounds like a Hollywood thriller, but this story is very real, as a new series of articles in the Arizona Republic called "Solving the Alzheimer's mystery" shows. The killer? Early-onset Alzheimer's, which strikes people in their 40s, decades before the disease shows symptoms in most who develop it. The families? Clustered in a ring of towns and villages around Medellin, Colombia and bonded together both by a common ancestry and by a genetic predisposition to early-onset Alzheimer's. The research study? The Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative's Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer's Disease (ADAD) prevention trial currently in progress.

Arizona Republic reporter Ken Alltucker has crafted both a terrific story and a great introduction to the role of genetic testing in Alzheimer's prevention research, and we hope you'll read his work and spread the word. The series began on February 15 and continues on Wednesday, February 18 and Sunday, February 22.

• Read the "Solving the Alzheimer's mystery," the first installment in the series

• Share the article on Facebook and Twitter




Update: Part Two of the Arizona Republic series is now online. Read "The Cure?" for more about how Banner Alzheimer's Institute pursued a bold research idea - testing a promising drug as a means to prevent the disease – in a population with a genetic mutation that destined them to get Alzheimer's as early as age 45.

Ask the Expert: What Kinds of Research Studies Are Going On and Which Are Most Promising?

This month's expert is Pierre N. Tariot, MD, board-certified physician in internal medicine and geriatric psychiatry. Dr. Tariot is the Director of Banner Alzheimer's Institute and Co-Director, Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative.

Dear Dr. Tariot:

The parent of a dear family friend was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. When I asked my friend how I could help, she suggested I get involved in an Alzheimer's research study. What kinds of research studies are going on and which are most promising? How do I find out about Alzheimer's research studies?