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Aging & Geriatrics - Alzheimer's Researchers Search for Volunteers
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Alzheimer's Researchers Search for Volunteers
(HealthDay News)
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Feb 23rd 2006

THURSDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. researchers are looking for 800 older adults to join a study aimed at identifying biological markers of memory decline and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers hope that information collected by the five-year, $60-million Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) will enable the detection of brain and biological changes before other Alzheimer's symptoms appear. That could mean the effectiveness of drugs to treat Alzheimer's could be evaluated at the earliest possible stages of the disease.

The project was launched by the U.S. National Institute on Aging and is being supported by more than a dozen other U.S. agencies, companies and organizations. The study will be conducted at 58 sites in the United States and Canada, and will include people aged 55 to 90. Participants will undergo brain scans and other types of tests to track memory decline and Alzheimer's disease progression.

"We encourage people to participate in this important study because it will help us to identify needed biological markers of memory decline and Alzheimer's disease. These biomarkers could become comparable to the cholesterol measures now used as biomarkers for heart disease," Dr. Susan Molchan, program director for ADNI, said in a prepared statement.

"In addition, using what we learn from the brain scans and other tests, we hope to lessen the time and cost of testing drugs and to bring treatments to patients much sooner," she said.

During the study, about 200 people with normal cognitive function will be tracked for three years, 400 people with mild cognitive impairment will also be tracked for three years, and 200 people with early Alzheimer's disease will be tracked for two years.

Researchers will then compare data collected from the three groups to identify correlations and develop standards for tracking progression of memory decline. The project will also produce an imaging and biomarker database that can be used by both public and private sector researchers as they develop and test drugs for memory decline.

More information

Learn more about taking part in ADNI.