Millions Of Americans Have Alzheimer’s. So Why Is It So Tricky To Find Participants For Research Trials?

Finding the right patients, in the right age group, with just the right amount of memory loss is an overwhelming task for pharmaceutical companies running drug trials. In other news, a study suggests that hormones might play a role in the disease, which could offer insight into why so many more women than men are afflicted.

The New York Times: For Scientists Racing To Cure Alzheimer’s, The Math Is Getting Ugly The task facing Eli Lilly, the giant pharmaceutical company, sounds simple enough: Find 375 people with early Alzheimer’s disease for a bold new clinical trial aiming to slow or stop memory loss. There are 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States. You’d think it would be easy to find that many participants for a trial like this one. But it’s not. And the problem has enormous implications for treatment of a disease that terrifies older Americans and has strained families in numbers too great to count. (Kolata, 7/23)

Los Angeles Times: How Pregnancy And Childbirth May Protect Some Women From Developing Dementia Women make up some 60% of Alzheimer’s disease patients in the United States, and over her lifetime, a woman is almost twice as likely than a man to develop the memory-robbing condition. New research offers tantalizing clues as to why that might be, suggesting that either hormonal influences or pregnancy-related changes in the immune system – or both — may nudge a woman’s risk for dementia in one direction or the other. (Healy, 7/23)

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