“The A4 Study is now moving from diagnosis to prevention, which is BIG, and it is where they need your help.”
BY ROB ST. GERMAIN
You can! Would you like to know how? ”Now Is The Time” is the motto of the new Alzheimer’s A4 Study. It is an exciting opportunity to help yourself, your family, and friends, and perhaps the entire world. Your participation may even result in your grandchildren not ever having to worry about this disease—and you can even get paid for it.
For the last five years I have been a volunteer study participant of the Harvard Aging Brain Study. Prior to retiring in 2012, I had a very interesting career that took me all over the world. None of those experiences have come close to providing the level of satisfaction I feel from my participation in the Aging Brain Study.
Because of this study, doctors can now diagnose Alzheimer’s dementia with an estimated 90% accuracy, while a person is still alive. In just the last nine months, they have perfected the ability to image Tau tangles in brain tissue that together with beta amyloid plaque cause the widespread brain cell death and cognitive decline called Alzheimer’s disease.
Who they need
The A4 Study is now moving from diagnosis to prevention, which is BIG, and it is where they need your help. The researchers are seeking 10,000 volunteers, ages 65-85, with normal thinking and memory function. Using PET scans at more than fifty locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, researchers will identify 1000 to 1500 individuals with elevated amyloid. Half of that group will be infused with an anti-amyloid antibody to determine if it slows the disease’s development; the other half will receive a placebo. People who do not show evidence of elevated brain amyloid may be asked to participate in a separate study in which they will take memory tests every six months.
Why it’s crucial
One out of eight individuals over 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. “With thousands of North Americans turning 65 every day, we are on the verge of a public health disaster,” says Reisa Sperling, the principal investigator in the study. This landmark study will help find the cure.
Rob St. Germain is a former management consultant, grandfather of four, and now a freelance writer.