Clinical trials are a gateway to unique treatments and diagnostic methods for ailments that affect people all over the world. They help older adults and caregivers feel like they have a key role in creating a smarter world for those living with chronic pain, cognitive impairments and other conditions.
Trials are happening worldwide and are often looking for new participants—and your loved one may be eligible to join one. Each of the studies below includes contact information for the research group or university running the study. Reach out to them with any questions or to see if you qualify for enrollment.
Current clinical trials available for older adults right now are exploring the effects of factors like sound and social activity on physical and mental impairments.
This study will test the effectiveness of sound. Participants having laser treatments will hear relaxing sounds during their procedure and rate their level of pain to measure whether or not the audio technology reduced anxiety.
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
- English speaking
- 18 to 100 years old
One group of participants undergoing vascular surgery at Mayo Clinic will not hear sounds during their procedure while others will be immersed in a virtual soundscape. Those who listened to the soundscape will use a ruler to select a pain and anxiety score from zero to 10.
Ellen C. Meltzer, Principal Investigator, Mayo Clinic
Another study will use technology to assist caregiving for older adults with dementia and diabetes. Participants will use a monitoring device to track their glucose for 14 days and
undergo regular interviews with caregivers to discuss and assess the reasons for hypoglycemic events.
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
- Dual diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s/related dementia and diabetes
- Active prescriptions for diabetes
- At least one visit to an Eskenazi or IU Health primary care clinic within a year
- Must be able to provide assent and have a legally authorized representative consent on their behalf (if they lack the capacity to consent)
- Must have a caregiver 18 years or older who interacts with them regularly
- Patient and caregiver must both speak English
- Patient and caregiver must both reside in the community
- Internet access
Process: Caregivers will receive educational materials and perform observational interviews with participants on how things like nutrition, resources, stress and finances relate to hypoglycemia. After participants with dementia and diabetes wear a glucose tracking device for two weeks, they will debrief with their caregivers about the experience and answer questions about identifying and reading glucose values. Participants will then have a design session to brainstorm how to improve the interpretability of glucose readers.
This study will test caffeine’s effect on cognition after surgery. Participants will receive different doses of caffeine after having major surgery and researchers will assess their levels of delirium.
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Adult 70 or older
- Undergoing noncardiac, nonintracranial neurologic, nonmajor vascular surgery requiring general anesthesia with a planned admission for at least 48 hours
- Willing to comply with all study procedures and available for the duration of the study
- Signed and dated informed consent form
Process: Researchers will provide participants with different amounts of caffeine to consume after surgery. They will then assess participants’ delirium severity, delirium duration, quality of recovery, sedation, agitation, headache and cumulative opioid consumption.
In this study, researchers will test the effectiveness of online cognitive-behavioral therapy on insomnia. Participants will complete sleep diaries, along with an online therapy program to see how it affects their resting patterns.
Location: University of Virginia
- 65 or older
- Speaks and reads English and is a U.S. resident
- Internet access
- Sleep-onset insomnia and/or sleep maintenance insomnia symptoms
- Sleep disturbance (or associated daytime fatigue) causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other areas of functioning over the past three months
- Cognitive impairment through study assessment
- Stable medication regimen unless medication is known to cause insomnia
Process: Participants will undergo a fully automated and interactive online therapy program for six to nine weeks. They will keep sleep diaries and assess how the cognitive behavioral therapy affected their insomnia severity, sleep efficiency, spatial working memory and more.
Meghan K. Mattos
Neighborhood-based physical and social activity for older black caregivers and people living with dementia
Another study is testing to see how social engagement affects mental health in older black caregivers and those living with dementia. Participants will enroll in the Sharing History through Active Reminiscence and Photo-imagery (SHARP) program, which offers access to routes, historical neighborhood imagery and conversational prompts, to see how it affects their cognitive function.
Location: Oregon Health and Science University
- Reside (or have resided) for more than 10 years in Portland’s historically black neighborhoods (to be familiar with Memory Markers about this area)
- Able to ambulate independently for at least 45 minutes without the use of mobility aids
- Meeting specific cognition criteria
- Ability to read, speak and understand English
- Adequate vision, hearing and language abilities to complete assessments
Process: Participants will use SHARP on a group tablet. Researchers will track sleep and step count and prompt users to perform a weekly online health survey. As a group, participants will discuss adaptation needs, feasibility, acceptance and cultural significance. Researchers will then measure how the physical and social activity platform affected participants’ sleep quality, blood pressure and mental health.