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Displaying items by tag: clinical trials

Clinical trials are a form of medical research involving people instead of lab animals. They're the most effective way to evaluate how well a new medical intervention works. The scientists in any new medical breakthrough have to prove their treatment's safety and efficacy in laboratory tests before Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve a clinical trial.

On the last day of November and National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, I'm going to squeeze in one more article about Azlheimer's disease, and talk about the importance of clinical trials in finding new treatments and possible cures for Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Trials

Alzheimer's disease is fatal in 100 percent of cases, and there is currently no cure. While a lot of research has been done, and we know a whole lot more about the disease than we did 20 years ago, we're still missing the crucial piece: a cure for Alzheimer's Disease.

The Alzheimer's Association has the ambitious goal of no less than ending Alzheimer's. To further that goal, they sponsor dozens of studies and trials every year. Here's what the Alzheimer's Association has to say about clinical trials:

"Without clinical trials, there can be no better treatments, no prevention and no cure for Alzheimer's disease. Scientists work constantly to find enhanced ways to treat diseases, but improved treatments can never become a reality without testing in clinical trials with human volunteers."

Clinical trials are not merely shooting in the dark to find an effective treatment or cure. The FDA only approves a clinical trial to begin recruiting participants when the researchers have shown strong evidence that their new therapy will be at least as effective as the currently available treatments. The scientists also subject their new treatment to rigorous safety tests to make sure it is safe for trial on people.

Every clinical study, even if it fails, advances our knowledge of the disease, its causes, and future cure.

Risks and Benefits of Joining Clinical Trials

If you or your loved one has Alzheimer's disease, you may be leery about the idea of joining a clinical trial. You're concerned about undergoing treatment that might not work, and you're even more worried about possible side effects. 

There are benefits and risks of participating in any clinical trial, and the known risks will be clearly spelled out in the trial's information packet. 

Here are some benefits of participating in a clinical trial:

  • You'll get a new treatment that's not available to the public.
  • You may receive more frequent check-ups as part of the treatment.
  • You'll have access to top-notch doctors and medical care.
  • You may get more information about the disease, support groups, and resources.

Clinical trials definitely do have risks associated with them. Here are some risks you should be aware of, brought to us by the National Institue on Aging:

  • The new treatment may cause serious side effects.
  • The new treatment may not work or it may not be better than the standard treatment.
  • You may NOT be part of the treatment group (or experimental group) that gets the new treatment—for example, a new drug or device. Instead, you may be part of the control group, which means you get the standard treatment or a no-treatment placebo.
  • The clinical trial could inconvenience you. For example, medical appointments could take a lot of time or you might be required to stay overnight or a few days in the hospital.

If you're unsure about joining a specific Alzheimer's clinical trial, speak with your doctor for a full examination of the risks and benefits.



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