If you are between the ages of 50 and 88 and have mild to moderate Alzheimer's Disease, you could be eligible to take part in a ground breaking study in Sioux Falls. The Avera Research Institute is involved in a worldwide clinic drug study that could change the course of Alzheimer's Disease.
65 year old Betty Medema was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease 3 years ago, her memory and life as she knew it has changed dramatically.
Betty says, "Well it's totally disrupted it you know, I try and cope with it as best I can."
Betty has enrolled in a clinical drug study at the Avera Research Institute. They are studying the effects of a drug that is known to break up the proteins that cause brain cells to die in Alzheimer's patients. Psychiatrist and Professor with Avera University Psychiatry Associates Dr. William Fuller is the principal researcher.
Dr. Fuller says, "This actually removes the protein building up in the brain basically infusing immunity antibodies in to this protein."
An estimated 4 million people in the United States are currently suffering from Alzheimer's. That number is expected to double in a decade and by 2050 it could quadruple to 16 million. That's why researchers say treating the disease, not just the symptoms is crucial and why this study is so promising.
Psychiatrist Dr. Matt Malone (also with Avera University Psychiatry Associates) specializes in Geriatric Psychiatry and is working on the study with Dr. Fuller. Dr. Malone says, "For the first time we are looking at a potential treatment for Alzheimer's Disease that will actually alter the course of the disease, if everything goes as planned."
Betty will be one of 4,200 patients worldwide who will get an I.V. infusion every 13 weeks for 65 weeks. She and the researchers won't know if she is getting the drug or the placebo. Routine MRIs and other tests will though.
Dr. William Fuller says, "The thinking is if you can intervene early enough in the disease you can prevent the progression with this particular compound."
That's what Betty Medema is counting on and living for.
They are looking for 30 to 40 people to participate here the cost is totally free to patients. They hope to start by mid February. For a list of who's eligible and what's required of you: Contact Christi Hinker, RNC (605) 322-3084 or (888) 634-7268 or go to: