If My Memory Serves Me Correctly...
We never think about how often we use our brains, but the reality is that we use them all the time. Every thought, movement, action, reaction, feeling, urge, etc. originates in the brain. One of the most important functions of the brain is memory. The brain stores both short-term and long-term memories that, believe it or not, help us navigate through our day-to-day routines. Just imagine if that function of the brain was lost. Remembering simple names, your phone number, your address, or even where you placed the remote, will become your biggest challenges. Unfortunately, this happens to many people quite often. This loss of memory is referred to as Dementia.
Who Alzheimer’s and other Dementias Affect
Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease and the most popular type of dementia, has shown to affect individuals who are between the ages 40 to 65 and women more than men. An annual report shows that over six million Americans are living with this disease, and 50 million worldwide. Although the cause has not been specified, heredity, age, and past head injuries play a role and influence the risk. In addition, the risk for an individual over the age of 65 is said to double every five years thereafter.
The other important party affected are family and close friends of those who are suffering. Although, these individuals are not experiencing the disease physically, they feel its impact. It is heartbreaking to watch a loved one experience confusion and loss of memory on a normal basis. It takes a great deal of strength, patience, and most of all, support.
Concerns Amongst Alzheimer’s and other Dementia Patients of Color
Alzheimer’s and dementia patients of color believe they have a harder time receiving proper care. In a special report, the Alzheimer’s Association found that African-American and Hispanic elderly people are more likely to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias than their Caucasian counterparts. Not only that, but they are also more likely to have missed diagnoses. To further explore the patients of color and their experiences, the Alzheimer’s Association conducted a survey. The findings showed that Alzheimer’s patients of color have found it difficult to receive excellent care and felt that the nurses and physicians were not listening to them. While most patients of color are worried that there is a racial barrier that hinders their chances of receiving the best care and are uncertain about research and clinical trials, others are confident that physicians and nurses who are culturally competent exist and trust that the future cure will be available equally.
Clinical Trials Help Create the Future
The Alzheimer’s Association proclaims that “without clinical trials, there can be no better treatments, no prevention and no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.” Clinical trials play a significant role in scientific development. They allow research specialists to pinpoint causes and triggers of infectious diseases so that they can begin finding the cure. Not only that, but clinical trial patients are able to receive treatments that could be life changing and ultimately motivate them to becoming advocates for both the disease and future clinical trials.
Importance of Patient Participation
Without participation, clinical trials cannot succeed. All participants are significant and are appreciated because they serve as the pioneers of new developments and scientific innovations. These individuals help in the process of better understanding infectious diseases and working toward their cures. Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias allow us to identify the disease and examine all aspects to help understand how it effects the brain and the body. The Alzheimer’s Association expresses the current difficulty of finding willing participants and emphasizes the need of individuals to help advance awareness and contribute to finding effective treatments and, most importantly, a cure. The Alzheimer’s Association says it best, “Don’t just hope for a cure—help us find one!”
If you know anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other dementia that may benefit from a clinical trial, please take the time to explore https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/clinical-trials/why-participate#optimism.
For more information about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, please visit https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/clinical-trials.
To further explore Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s, please visit alzheimers-facts-and-figures-special-report.pdf.