Clinical research helps doctors establish disease progression and duration by allowing them to understand what is happening at each stage of the illness. This will in turn allow them to pinpoint the best ways to diagnose and attack the disease.
View current research underway at the Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Baylor College of Medicine:
Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI)
The ADNI will test whether serial MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), PET (positron emission tomography), other biological markers and clinical and neuropsychological assessment can be used together to measure progression in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's disease. Neuroimaging research suggests that PET and MRI may be a more precise tool in assessing disease progression than traditional neuropsychological assessments. Standardizing the way neuroimaging is done would make it easier for researchers to compare studies, develop new treatments and monitor their effectiveness. Support for this study is from the National Institutes of Health and private funding.
The purpose of the control study is to gain a better understanding of memory functioning in healthy elderly people. The goal is to establish a database of information collected from annual assessments with these subjects to use as a comparison to data gathered from Alzheimer's patients. The Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center follows patients over the course of the disease and evaluates them annually through a series of physical, neurological, and memory assessments.
Longitudinal Study of Cognitive and Functional Abilities Using a Neuropsychological Test Battery
The purpose of this study is to test the abilities of the Neuropsychological Test Battery and to correlate it with other neurocognitive and functional assessments in subjects with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. This study is sponsored by Élan Pharmaceuticals.
Texas Alzheimer's Research Consortium
TARC was established in 1999 by the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. It includes Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Current research is helping to identify genetic factors associated with onset of the disease and biological markers for inflammation, cardiovascular disease, risk factors for heart disease, and diabetes that impact the development and progression of the disease. TARC has established the large shared Texas Alzheimer's DataBank that includes standardized genetic and blood biomarker data on Alzheimer's patients and healthy control subjects seen at each of the TARC member sites. Funding for TARC is from the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board via the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders.