Clinical trials not only lead to new treatments and diagnostic methods but can also help older adults and caregivers feel like they play a part in creating a smarter world for those living with cognitive impairment, chronic pain and other ailments.
Trials are held around the country and are often looking for new participants, and your loved one may be eligible. Each of the studies below includes contact information for the research group or university running the study. Reach out to them with any concern you may have, or to see if you qualify for enrollment.
Current clinical trials available for older adults right now are exploring Alzheimer’s disease treatments, financial tools for caregivers, dementia risk in veterans and even technologies to lower fall risks.
One drug company, Alzheon, is in the process of testing the safety and efficacy of a new pill called valiltramiprosate (ALZ-801) that could help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
96 different locations
- Clinical diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease consistent with the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association Working Group Criteria
- Homozygous for the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE4/4)
- MMSE score at Screening of 22 to 30 (inclusive)
- CDR – Global score of 0.5 or 1 and CDR Memory Box Score of greater than or equal to 0.5
- RBANS delayed memory index score of 85 or lower
- Evidence of progressive memory loss over the last 12 months per investigator assessment
- Age 50-80
Process: The study has 300 participants and is in phase three of testing. Participants are given either the pill or a placebo to take twice daily for a year and a half. Study visits throughout the trial test participants’ heart health and vital signs, as well as physical and cognitive functions.
The drug is designed to protect a healthy form of amyloid-beta from becoming toxic. The drugmakers think if they can prevent protective protein from becoming harmful to brain cells they could stop the damage that occurs in brains with Alzheimer’s.
Another study is testing the effectiveness of SilverBills, a tool that could help dementia caregivers with bill payments, budgeting, taxes and secure legal document storage services.
The study has 150 participants and tests whether SilverBills decreases the stress of dementia caregivers, while increasing their quality of life.
While the company is based in New York, study participation is remote and available nationwide.
- Provide care for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia
- Minimum age of 18
Process: Participants are enrolled in SilverBills for one year and are questioned at the six-month mark regarding any financial and physical burdens. Overall well-being is also assessed.
A third study is investigating a possible link between traumatic brain injuries and dementia, specifically in veterans. The study started in July 2021 and ends in June 2026.
Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center
Boston, MA 02130
- Age 30-90
- Able to speak English
- At least 20/30 vision acuity with normal color vision
- Normal decision-making ability, based on study screening
For extended criteria visit the trial’s home page.
Process: The study has 800 participants and will involve neuropsychological assessments, MRIs, blood and spinal fluid samples and memory tests. Veterans in the study are either healthy, have a previous traumatic brain injury, or have a mild cognitive impairment.
Through the course of five years, researchers measure changes in memory, brain activity and signs of neurodegeneration. Blood samples are used to test for a gene associated with dementia.
Kristina Morreale, BA
Seniors can also enroll in a trial for a smart belt that can help prevent fall-related injuries. Tango Belt is a rechargeable belt with sensors that can detect the motion of a fall and inflate quickly to lower the impact. The study opened in March 2022 and is closing in November 2022.
For an extended list of locations, visit the trial’s home page.
- Age 65 or older
- Have experienced a fall-related fracture after age 50 or have experienced one or more falls in the 12 months
- Have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, osteopenia or prescribed osteoporosis medication
- Able to transfer between surfaces or walk or move between locations (use of an assistive device such as a walker is acceptable)
- Have a waist circumference between 29 and 50 inches
Process: Tango also connects to Wi-Fi and sends alerts to caregivers during a fall. The 500 study participants are tested by wearing Tango continuously for six months. Researchers will review electronic health records at the beginning, halfway point and conclusion of the study to see if participants sustained any injuries using Tango.