Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet
National Institute on Aging
Scientists believe that more research is needed to find out if estrogen may play some role in AD. They would like to know whether starting estrogen therapy around the time of menopause, rather than at age 65 or older, will protect memory or prevent AD.
Participating in Clinical Trials
People with AD, those with MCI, or those with a family history of AD, who want to help scientists test possible treatments may be able to take part in clinical trials. Healthy people also can help scientists learn more about the brain and AD. The NIA maintains the AD Clinical Trials Database, which lists AD clinical trials sponsored by the Federal government and private companies. To find out more about these studies, contact the NIA’s ADEAR Center at 1-800-438-4380 or visit the ADEAR Center website at www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/ResearchInformation/ClinicalTrials. You also can sign up for e-mail alerts on new clinical trials as they are added to the database. Additional clinical trials information is available at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Many of these studies are being done at NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Centers located throughout the United States. These centers carry out a wide range of research, including studies of the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and management of AD. To get a list of these centers, contact the ADEAR Center.
Advancing Our Understanding
Scientists have come a long way in their understanding of AD. Findings from years of research have begun to clarify differences between normal age-related memory changes, MCI, and AD. Scientists also have made great progress in defining the changes that take place in the AD brain, which allows them to pinpoint possible targets for treatment. These advances are the foundation for the NIH Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Initiative, which is designed to:
- understand why AD occurs and who is at greatest risk of developing it,
- improve the accuracy of diagnosis and the ability to identify those at risk,
- discover, develop, and test new treatments, and discover treatments for behavioral problems in patients with AD.
Is There Help for Caregivers?
Most often, spouses and other family members provide the day-to-day care for people with AD. As the disease gets worse, people often need more and more care. This can be hard for caregivers and can affect their physical and mental health, family life, job, and finances.
The Alzheimer’s Association has chapters nationwide that provide educational programs and support groups for caregivers and family members of people with AD. Contact information for the Alzheimer’s Association is listed at the end of this fact sheet.