If you have been doing online research to learn about Alzheimer’s prevention, you may have heard a lot about clinical studies (also called clinical trials). There are many clinical trials that point to the probability that diet and lifestyle changes could help stave off symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), particularly for those who are in the early stages of the disease.
Today there is a real need for study volunteers, including those who are diagnosed with all stages of Alzheimer’s disease (and mild cognitive impairment), as well as those without AD. There is even a need for study participants who are Alzheimer’s caregivers. In fact, it’s estimated that overall, approximately 50,000 volunteers are needed. It’s obvious that involvement in clinical trials is necessary for the advancement of Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention, but did you know there are many personal benefits of participating in research?
Benefits of Clinical Trials
You may be surprised to learn that there are many advantages of getting involved in clinical trials for AD treatment and prevention, other than the obvious perks (such as access to new medications). Clinical trials may offer a wide range of benefits including:
- Access to promising new medications and treatments that are not yet available to the public
- More individual attention from the physician and other health care providers
- Expert medical care from top facilities in the country
- Empowerment of participants from actively engaging in the treatment and prevention process
- Contribution to new and exciting medical advancements that will help others with AD
- No cost medical treatment(many studies are free of cost for research participants)
- Better treatment outcomes (according to research studies)
- Access to holistic treatment approach which involves a wide range of supportive services
Disadvantages of Clinical Trials
In addition to the benefits of clinical studies, there are some risks. Be aware that top medical experts involved in clinical trials have the intention of providing the highest level of safety possible for all study participants. Each risk, specific to the study, will be explained in detail (and provided in writing) before the study begins.
- Serious side effects are a possibility in some studies
- There is a chance the new medication or treatment will not be effective
- You may be part of the group that gets a placebo (receiving no medical benefits)
- There may be extensive time involved in travel and/or hospital stays
- Not all health insurance will cover the costs (if there are any involved)
Before the effects of a new medication or treatment are studied in people, scientists and health care providers have gathered quite extensive data on the efficacy and safety of each specific treatment modality.
Perhaps the most impactful aspect of getting involved in research studies is knowing you can be part of the solution. Finding enough volunteers is one of the biggest challenges the medical profession will face in the future of finding the cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
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