The clinical study examines the subtle changes that may take place in the brains of older people many years before overt symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear.
The study uses imaging techniques specifically developed to advance research by examining changes taking place in the structure and function of the brain, as well as biomarker measures found in blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Participants will be asked to undergo three test procedures (MRI and PET scans, lumbar puncture). The study does not provide treatment and does not directly benefit participants, but the information gathered will help future generations with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
“We cannot end this terrible disease unless we know more about it,” says Brigid Reynolds, A.N.P., lead investigator of the study at Georgetown. “This is where volunteers, their friends and their families can make the difference in our success.”
According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 5.3 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, and every 70 seconds, another person develops this disease. In Washington, DC, more than 9,000 people aged 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s, making finding a cure a pressing need in our community.
The research is funded by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the NIH Office of the Director. In addition to the Georgetown University Memory Disorders Program, 49 other sites in the United States are participating in the study.
“This is part of an ongoing effort to establish imaging and fluid biomarker measures of Alzheimer’s disease from the onset of mild symptoms to the advanced stages of the disease process,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “By advancing the understanding of the full spectrum of the disease, we’ll be better able to identify who is at risk, track progression of the disorder, and devise measurements to test the effectiveness of potential prevention or treatment strategies.”
Volunteers must speak English. Those with memory problems must have a person willing to assist them during at least five clinic visits and with telephone contacts from researchers.
To volunteer or learn more about the study, contact Kelly Behan in the GUMC Memory Disorders Program by calling (202) 687-0413 or by emailing her. To learn more about this and other Alzheimer’s disease research, visit http://memory.georgetown.edu.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.