Participating in Clinical Studies
Clinic Evaluation, Research Participation or Both?
The Georgetown University Memory Disorders Program is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art clinical services for individuals affected by Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and to conducting research aimed at improving treatment options for Alzheimer's disease. How do you decide whether to undergo evaluation in the clinic, to participate in research, or to do both?
The clinic may be your entryway into our program if you suspect you have memory problems, seek a diagnosis, seek a second opinion or wish to receive dementia care from the Memory Disorders Program clinicians. Your primary care physician, neurologist, or other clinician may have provided a referral. Perhaps you heard about the program through the Alzheimer's Association or by finding us on the web. You or concerned members of your family noticing changes in your memory may contact us to schedule a new patient evaluation.
Due to our clinical research focus, our specialty is in the evaluation and diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer's disease, but we also see patients with other types of dementia such as frontotemporal dementia or Lewy body dementia. We do not routinely evaluate patients who have memory problems due primarily to traumatic brain injury, brain tumor, stroke, psychiatric disease, endocrine condition, kidney or liver failure, seizures, or from medication or radiation effects, since we currently have no research options available for individuals with these diagnoses.
Prior to scheduling an initial appointment, we will conduct a telephone screen. If you are not already a patient at the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, we also require health insurance information and medical records prior to scheduling your initial appointment. Since ours is a specialty clinic, we ask that you request your medical records from your primary care physician, neurologist, or other clinicians and have them sent to us before your evaluation (see the "Before Your First Visit" section). This will avoid unnecessary duplication of diagnostic tests (such as a brain MRI scan).
There is an important need for volunteers to participate in our research program.
The Memory Disorders Program participates as a site in both federally-funded and industry-sponsored studies. We participate in cutting-edge research that has the potential to provide new treatments designed to prevent, slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer's disease. We are also developing new tools to improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy. Studies currently seeking volunteers have been reviewed and approved by the Georgetown University Institutional Review Board.
It is not required that you be evaluated in our clinic prior to participating in research. If you have a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease and receive your medical care elsewhere, you may be eligible to participate. We ask that you request to have your medical records (including recent office visit notes, laboratory results and CT or MRI brain scan reports) sent to us (see the "Before Your First Visit"section). After reviewing your records, we will contact you to discuss research opportunities.
Most studies require participants to have a study partner. Your study partner may be a family member or friend who will be asked to accompany you to study visits and to provide us with information about your health status throughout the study.
On occasion, some of our studies seek older adults who are cognitively normal or may have concerns about their memory, but do not manifest signs or symptoms of memory loss. If you feel this describes you, please contact us to learn more about possible research participation. Eligibility requirements for all of our research studies can also be reviewed at www.clinicaltrials.gov from the "Triall Information" links provided under the Recruiting or Ongoing research studies pages.
There is no fee to participate in research and all study-related costs are covered by the research sponsor. In some cases, participants receive a small stipend to reimburse travel and other costs.
Please note that research sponsors will not pay for a clinical evaluation leading to a diagnosis. However, once you join a research study, all study-related costs are covered by the research sponsor (such as the NIH or a company), unless otherwise noted in the study consent form.
More Information on Participating in Clinical Trials
For more information about what it means to participate in a clinical study, please read "Participating in Clinical Trials: What You Need to Know"[ec-online.net] written by Christine Weber, PhD and Mary Sano, PhD of the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia University.