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UH Brain Health & Memory Center Seeking People for Alzheimer’s Study

Posted 1/1/2015 by UHBlog

Are you experiencing memory problems? Make an appointment with your doctor today.

UH Brain Health & Memory Center Seeking People for Alzheimer’s Study

The Brain Health & Memory Center at University Hospitals Neurological Institute is looking for people to participate in a national study of a promising new treatment for the earliest memory changes that may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s (A4) study is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Eli Lilly and will enroll 1,000 people between the ages of 65 and 85 who have normal thinking and memory function. Eligible participants will be screened using an advanced imaging technique called a Positron Emission Tomgraphy (PET) to determine if there are elevated levels of the protein called “amyloid” which accumulates in the brain of those people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Amyloid starts depositing 15 years before you have any symptoms,” says Alan Lerner, MD, Director of the Brain Health & Memory Center. “That represents a window of opportunity to intervene.” The A4 study aims to study whether an investigational anti-amyloid antibody can slow the earliest changes in memory function associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The investigational anti-amyloid antibody is called solanezumab. In a prior study it did appear to slow mental decline among patients with mildest symptoms of memory loss, although it did not appear to help those with full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.

Older African-Americans and Latinos and other minorities are especially encouraged to participate in the A4 study, says Maria Gross, RN, a clinical research nurse specialist with the UH Brain Health & Memory Center. “Older African-Americans are twice as likely as older Caucasians to have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” she says. “For older Hispanics, the rate compared with Caucasians is one and a half times. The NIH has asked that we increase the screening of minority populations in the A4 study, so we can eventually lessen health disparities between ethnic groups and better represent the American population.”

Participants enrolled in the A4 study at UH will visit the Brain Health & Memory Center once a month for three years to receive an intravenous infusion after they pass the screening process. Half the participants in the A4 study will receive the anti-amyloid investigational drug, and half will receive a placebo. Those taking part in the study will also be asked to have a “study partner” – someone who can answer questions once a year about the participant’s memory and ability to perform daily-life activities. Study participants will also undergo memory and thinking tests, ECGs, MRIs, as well as blood and urine tests.

To enroll, please contact Maria Gross, RN, at 216-464-6454 or Maria.Gross@UHhospitals.org.

To learn more about the A4 study, please visit The A4 Study.

Is Dementia Care Stressing You Out?

The Brain Health & Memory Center is offering a series of Caregiver Educational Sessions for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

“Caregivers for people with dementia have taken on an enormous responsibility,” says Marianne Sanders, RN, who is conducting the sessions. “They have to recognize that it’s not always going to go smoothly but that what they’re doing is extremely important.”

During the sessions, caregivers will learn how dementia affects the whole mind – including judgment and perception – and hear about strategies for taking control and decreasing the stresses associated with the responsibility, which can sometimes be overwhelming. “By the sixth session, the caregivers understand why the patient is acting the way they are, and they are more confident in their ability to handle things,” Sanders says.

The sessions will be held on six Tuesday afternoons at the Foley Conference room of the Parkway Medical Building at 3619 Park East Drive in Beachwood, Ohio. For more information and registration for this course, please contact Marianne Sandeers, RN at 216-464-6462 or Marianne.Sanders@Uhhospitals.org.

Alan Lerner, MD, is Director of the Brain Health & Memory Center at UH Cleveland Medical Center.

You can request an appointment with Dr. Lerner or any other doctor online.

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