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August 7, 2007 > Alzheimer's Association launches new clinical studies initiative

Alzheimer's Association launches new clinical studies initiative

Submitted By Nancy Mulligan

The Alzheimer's Association has chosen San Francisco as one of five pilot program sites across the country to participate in its first Alzheimer's disease Clinical Studies Initiative to raise awareness of the urgent need for more people to volunteer for Alzheimer's research studies.

There are currently more than five million people in the United States living with Alzheimer's disease and, according to the Association's Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures 2007, half a million new cases are expected this year alone. California will see a nine percent increase in Alzheimer's disease in people aged 65 and older from 2000 to 2010.

There are more clinical studies underway today than ever before-seeking to recruit participants from what has historically been an inadequate pool of volunteers. Recruiting and retaining study participants has become one of the greatest impediments to developing the next generation of treatments for Alzheimer's. In response, the Alzheimer's Association has launched a campaign to educate doctors, patients and caregivers about local clinical research opportunities and the crucial need for study volunteers. The campaign also specifically seeks to raise awareness within minority populations in each pilot location with targeted marketing materials and advertising.

"Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's every seventy two seconds," said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association. "And yet, despite its devastating consequences, Alzheimer's remains the most overlooked, serious health emergency in this country today. It's absolutely crucial that we recognize Alzheimer's as the full-blown medical, sociological, and economic crisis that it has become."

"Although we have made great strides in researching this incurable disease, a critical shortage of clinical study participants currently presents a serious obstacle in the evaluation of potential treatments that show great promise," Johns said.

Working closely with its Northern California and "Northern Nevada Chapter, the Alzheimer's Association has convened a physician task force to raise awareness of Alzheimer's clinical studies and to advocate for participation. The task force consists of San Francisco-area leaders in Alzheimer's care and/or research who will be featured in brochures, posters and radio television public service announcements. Members of the task force will also provide presentations to local hospitals and community organizations about the role of clinical studies in Alzheimer's research.

The Initiative also includes continuing medical education programs for medical professionals, consumer-focused educational events, advertising and extensive community outreach. Advertisements and marketing materials with the headline, "They can't do it without you. Neither can we," emphasize the need for study participation and communication among caregivers, medical professionals and patients. The materials will be distributed through local hospitals, physician's offices and a variety of community organizations and local business.

The clinical studies initiative is being piloted in four other cities where local Alzheimer's Association chapters are located-Atlanta, Tulsa, Providence and Indianapolis.
Interested persons affected by Alzheimer's and medical professionals may visit www.alz.org for more information and to search a listing of current clinical studies by specific location. Information is also available through the Alzheimer's Association's hotline at (800)272-3900. The hotline is available 24 hours a day to provide reliable information, referrals and support.

Alzheimer's Association
Nancy Mulligan
301-348-1671
www.alz.org

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