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HomePopularHow To Become An Alzheimer's Researcher

How To Become An Alzheimer’s Researcher

How To Become A Researcher

Advice about becoming a scientist – Dementia Explained – Alzheimer’s Research UK
  • Complete an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. This may be either related to the field of research, or a discipline such as psychology, sociology, behavioural science or computer science.
  • Once youve successfully completed an undergraduate degree, you may wish to undertake postgraduate studies, depending on your chosen field and area of research.
  • Benefits For People With Dementia

    Berghmans and Ter Muelen pointed out that research can have a social benefit for people with dementia – such as someone spending time with them. For those living in care homes, the opportunity to have someone spend time listening to them and taking an interest in them is likely to have a positive effect on their wellbeing.

    Being interviewed has been reported as enjoyable for people with dementia and a positive experience . Barnett reported that people with dementia who took part in research felt valued and that their self-esteem was boosted. Furthermore, they enjoyed the opportunity to speak about their feelings and experiences .

    Kapp reported that asking someone with dementia to take part in a research study can make them feel recognised as someone who is capable, in contrast to stereotypical images of dementia that show them to be inferior and incompetent. In addition, Hellstrom et al proposed that while excluding people with dementia from taking part in research could be seen as reducing their dignity, including them could enhance it.

    The Mental Capacity Act

    The Mental Capacity Act 2005 states that a person must be assumed to have the capacity to make a decision unless it is found that they do not . Furthermore, a person should not be treated as being unable to make a decision unless all reasonable steps to help them to do so have been taken without success.

    Box 1. Mental capacity act 2005

    A person is deemed able to have capacity to make a decision if they can:

    • Understand the information relevant to the decision, including the likely consequences of making or not making the decision
    • Retain the information
    • Use or weigh the information as part of the process of making the decision
    • Communicate their decision

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council code of conduct, standard 16, states: You must be aware of the legislation regarding mental capacity, ensuring that people who lack capacity remain at the centre of decision making and are fully safeguarded .

    It is important that researchers do all they can to enable people with dementia to understand studies they are involving them in this includes ensuring that the information is available in a suitable format to help them make informed decisions. Consideration also needs to be given as to how the research will be explained to the person with dementia , and researchers should also consider what time of day the person with dementia is approached, given that cognition can fluctuate throughout the day.

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    Q: If I Join A Study Will I Get The Investigational Treatment

    A: In many studies, not all participants will receive the new treatment. Often, some participants will receive a placebo. A placebo is an inactive substance that looks like the drug or treatment being tested. Participants will not know whether they receive the new treatment or the placebo. This is done so researchers can judge whether or not the new treatment has an effect. In some cases, the researchers and study personnel are also unaware of who is in which treatment group. In a study that includes placebos, all participants receive the same standard of medical care and are important in helping to test the treatment.

    What Else Should I Consider

    Tips for Each Stage of Alzheimers

    Consider both benefits and risks when deciding whether to volunteer for a clinical trial.

    While there are benefits to participating in a clinical trial or study, there are some risks and other issues to consider as well.

    Risk. Researchers make every effort to ensure participants safety. But, all clinical trials have some risk. Before joining a clinical trial, the research team will explain what you can expect, including possible side effects or other risks. That way, you can make an informed decision about joining the trial.

    Expectations and motivations. Single clinical trials and studies generally do not have miraculous results, and participants may not benefit directly. With a complex disease like Alzheimers, it is unlikely that one drug will cure or prevent the disease.

    Uncertainty. Some people are concerned that they are not permitted to know whether they are getting the experimental treatment or a placebo , or may not know the results right away. Open communication with study staff can help you understand why the study is set up this way and what you can expect.

    Time commitment and location. Clinical trials and studies last days to years. They usually require multiple visits to study sites, such as private research facilities, teaching hospitals, Alzheimers research centers, or doctors offices. Some studies pay participants a fee and/or reimburse travel expenses.

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    Ius Continued Commitment To Alzheimers Research

    About 10 years ago, IU School of Medicine leadership designated Alzheimers and neurodegeneration as a critical area of expertise to develop, and that institutional support has proved vital in making IU a leader in this field.

    The war on Alzheimers disease seems to be one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in the federal government, which has generously invested in research to find a cure, Saykin noted. However, to be in a position to take advantage of funding opportunities, an institution has to invest. The strong support of Dean Jay Hess and other senior leaders has been a key factor in IUs success.

    Saykin is co-director of a nationwide, NIH-funded effort to develop artificial intelligence methods for advancement in Alzheimers. In 2019, IU was awarded a $36 million NIH grant to launch a new drug discovery center for Alzheimers in partnership with Purdue University, known as TREAT-AD, co-directed by Lamb and Alan Palkowitz, PhD.

    While many exciting discoveries are being madeincluding a potential breakthrough experimental drug found to be highly effective in a recent clinical trialthere are still more questions than answers about the development of Alzheimers and how to treat it. Lamb said hes encouraged by the next generation of Alzheimers researchers rising up at IU School of Medicine, particularly women scientists currently developing their niches and expertise.

    Women Lead Core Operations For Alzheimers Center

    IU School of Medicine is home to one of the nations oldest Alzheimers research centers. Founded in 1991, the Indiana Alzheimers Disease Research Center is one of just 32 such centers designated by the National Institute on Aging , a division of the NIH.

    Apostolova leads the clinical core for the IADRC, which recruits and carefully evaluates study participants with the goal to provide researchers with high-quality clinical, imaging, biomarker and neuropathological data in Alzheimers disease and hereditary dementias and to improve early detection. She is among six women who lead or co-lead service cores within the IADRC.

    We take pride in the ensemble of extraordinary women in scientific leadership positions within our center, Saykin said.

    Tatiana Foroud, PhD, directs the Genetics, Biomarker and Bioinformatics Core and has been involved in dementia research since the mid-1990s. In 2003, she became principal investigator for the nations largest biobank for Alzheimers, the National Centralized Repository for Alzheimers Disease Samples , which she describes as the Amazon for DNA, cerebrospinal fluid, brain tissue and other biospecimens used in laboratories studying Alzheimers disease.

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    Business Benefits To Becoming Dementia

    Becoming a dementia-friendly organisation is not just a socially responsible step. It can also benefit businesses and may be a legal requirement in some situations. There is a clear economic case for supporting people affected by dementia to use services and facilities, and to continue working where possible.

    • Competitive advantage – 83% of people with memory problems have turned to businesses that are more accessible
    • Increased revenue – there are 900,000 people with dementia in the UK. By becoming a leader in dementia-friendly practices, businesses will retain and build on existing custom from people affected by dementia
    • Improved customer service – increased knowledge and awareness of dementia will make staff more confident when dealing with all customers
    • Enhanced brand reputation – becoming dementia-friendly will help businesses demonstrate that they are socially responsible and that they value their customers

    When a business gets it right for people with dementia, it gets it right for everyone.

    What we can offer

    We will help get the most from a partnership with Alzheimer’s Society for you and your colleagues. As our corporate partner, you will be supported by an award-winning account management team with over 20 years of experience in managing hugely successful partnerships.

    We will offer you:

    The difference your company will make by partnering with us

    Current corporate partners

    What Can I Expect To Happen When A Clinical Trial Or Study Ends Early

    An Alzheimers Drug That Doesnt Treat Alzheimers?

    Most clinical trials run as planned from beginning to end, but sometimes trials end before the expected end date for many reasons. Some reasons why a trial might be stopped early include:

    • participants are experiencing unexpected and severe side effects
    • there is clear evidence the harms of the treatment are greater than the benefits
    • enough participants cannot be recruited
    • there is clear evidence a new treatment or intervention is effective or beneficial
    • the results of other trials are published that answer the research question or make it irrelevant

    Researchers are required to follow strict rules to make sure that participants are safe. These rules are enforced by the federal government. Each clinical trial is designed to follow a careful study plan or protocol that describes what the researchers will do. The principal investigator, or head researcher, is responsible for making sure that the protocol is followed. There are two monitoring sources that may stop a clinical trial early:

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    Why Should I Sign Up To Join Dementia Research

    Many people who choose to take part in dementia research do so because they value the opportunity to make a difference.

    For people with dementia, taking part in research often helps them to gain a better understanding of their condition and to have their health monitored more closely. Many find it a very positive experience and feel they are making a worthwhile contribution to the future of dementia care and treatment.

    Tips For Doctoral And Postdoctoral Award Applications

    The Alzheimer Society Research Program makes funding decisions based on excellence, as assessed by peer review. Your award application will be evaluated on aspects including the proposed research and training environment, as well as your potential as a future scientist.

    The following suggestions are meant to help you translate your research idea into a successful award application. They are not a substitute for the application guidelines, nor are they the criteria by which your application will be evaluated.

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    Letter From The Director

    Overthe past two years, with funding from the National Institute of AgingAlzheimers Disease Research Centers program, experts in the field of Alzheimersdisease and related dementias from Case Western Reserve University, ClevelandClinic Foundation, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA, and University Hospitals havecollaborated to establish the Cleveland Alzheimers Disease Research Center. As the Director of the CADRC, I am well aware of the complex nature ofthis cross-institutional research Center. However, in just two years time, throughthe immense effort my colleagues and collaborators at these key ClevelandInstitutions and with the common goal of advancing our knowledge of Alzheimersdisease and Related Dementias the CADRC has become a success.

    Inthis context, I am delighted that the National Institute of Aging has recentlyannounced that it will fund the Cleveland ADRC for the next five years with a$15.4million grant to continue the important work of the Center.

    Icannot sufficiently thank the tireless support of my colleagues andcollaborators, the unwavering support of the involved Cleveland institutions,the research support staff, the Cleveland community, and of course the patientsand their families who have been generous in making this Center program asuccess.

    Togetherwe plan to increase our understanding of these devastating disorders so thatthose of us who are clinicians can provide more hope to patients and theirfamilies.

    Meet Our Regular Contributors

    Numark Urges Members to Become Dementia Aware  Pharmacy Life

    Find out what theyre working on, what they enjoy about their job and what their biggest challenges have been so far.

    Tell us about your career path to becoming an early career researcher.

    I have worked on a number of healthcare innovation programmes over my 24 year career in healthcare, working within the NHS, Department of Health, commercial sector and at University College London for the past 10 years. I have previously worked on addressing challenges in healthcare associated infections, particularly MRSA, patient waiting times and healthcare reconfiguration and over the past few years I have entirely focused on dementia and have led various programmes and research studies, looking at improving study recruitment , better supporting care homes and residents to engage with research , and most recently leading on the creation development and delivery of this website, Dementia Researcher.

    What does your research focus on?

    My own research has focused on public engagement in research for the past few years, and I am also a member of the Health Research Authority National Research Ethics Panel, and a Research Associate at the University of Sydney.

    Do you have any advice for someone looking to embark on a career in dementia research?

    What are the best bits about being a researcher?

    What do you see as the main challenges?

    Why did you choose to work in dementia?

    What do you write about?

    Tell us about your career path.

    What does your research focus on?

    What do you write about?

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    What Happens When A Person Joins A Clinical Trial Or Study

    Once you identify a trial or study you are interested in, contact the study site or coordinator. You can usually find this contact information in the description of the study, or you can contact the ADEAR Center. Study staff will ask a few questions on the phone to determine if you meet basic qualifications for the study. If so, they will invite you to come to the study site. If you do not meet the criteria for the study, dont give up! You may qualify for a future study.

    Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers

    The National Institute on Aging funds 33 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers at major medical institutions across the United States. Researchers at these Centers are working to translate research advances into improved diagnosis and care for people with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as working to find a treatment or way to prevent Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. In addition, NIA funds four Exploratory ADRCs that are designed to expand and diversify research and education opportunities to new areas of the country, new populations, and new areas of science and approaches to research.

    For people and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, the ADRCs offer:

    • Help with obtaining diagnosis and medical management
    • Information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias, services, and resources
    • Opportunities for volunteers to participate in clinical trials and studies and research registries
    • Support groups and other special programs for volunteers and their families

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    Top 5 Reasons There’s An Upside To Early Detection Of Alzheimer’s

    Early detection for aging issues is essential to maintain the highest quality of life possible for as long as possible. Early detection of Alzheimerâs is not different. What are the latest innovations in early Alzheimerâs detection?

  • Keeping People with Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment Employed- A study showed positive results of continued daily work tasks for those suffering from mild cognitive decline. Little more than workplace support is required from businesses for these patients. Plus employees in the program showed preserved health and well-being. These inclusive measures help to reduce stigmas and create inclusive spaces.
  • Immune system boostsSeveral monoclonal antibody drugs may help the brain clear out beta-amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimerâs. The Food and Drug Administration approved aducanumab for the treatment of some cases of Alzheimer’s disease in June 2021.
  • Classifying disease through artificial intelligence – Researchers’ better detection of Alzheimer’s disease could lead to earlier treatment and new opportunity to participate in clinical trials
  • Having a good listener improves your brain health – Researchers have found that people who have someone to listen to them are healthier. Those with good listeners have greater cognitive resilience. Social interaction in adulthood could help diminish cognitive decline.
  • We Need Your Help To Find A Cure Now

    Small changes help make a dementia friendly community – Alzheimer’s Society

    Dont let another minute pass. Help us before another victim cant care for themselves forgets their loved ones and loses years of their lives due to brain malfunction caused by dying Neuro-receptors.Our mission is to adequately fund highly credible institutions focused on researching Alzheimers disease and other forms of Dementia with the intent of finding a cure. Our exciting partnership with The University of Florida Health and McKnight Brain Institute, provides high hopes for not only attracting talented Neurologists looking to expand their training towards the world of research but also to fund those research fellows as they diligently search for a cure for Alzheimers disease and other forms of Dementia. The funds collected by the Alzheimers Research Foundation will also help pay for critical clinical trials and attract top researchers to one of the worlds most distinguished fellowship programs.

    For more information on the signs of dementia, see this related article.

    1 From the research report, Alzheimers Association, 2013 Alzheimers Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimers & Dementia, Volume 9, Issue 2.

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    Prof Clare Bryant Cambridge

    I did an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences but then went into science media. I worked in an independent television production company, then moved onto the Discovery Channel and then to the BBC, at Tomorrows World. I enjoyed the work there but really missed getting into the problems and being the one that was solving them. I strongly felt that I wanted to be the one doing the science.


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