BY BETH DOUGLAS
One in three people will pass away with a form of dementia. Worldwide, approximately 61 million people have dementia, with over 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. As the proportion of older people in the population is increasing in nearly every country, the World Health Organization predicts that this number is expected to rise to 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050.*
With the trend of the average life expectancy becoming longer, neurodegenerative disease is on the rise. This is a growing concern in the medical community, and in society as a whole. Bradenton Research Center is a dedicated research center led by Medical Director Eric Folkens, M.D. The newest study being launched is one that will look at the effects of a new “investigational product” or medicine on those who may be predisposed to dementia-related illnesses.
While there is currently no cure for dementia related illnesses, treating the symptoms with medicines that may make daily living more manageable is the recourse that we must harness. With studies that examine the effects of medicines on declining cognitive abilities, there is some hope for progress in the treatment of dementia. Bradenton Research Center protects subjects who are involved in studies, and strictly abides by both FDA regulations, as well as other protective state and federal laws concerning the conduct of human subject research.
“Alzheimer’s is such a terrible disease. We work with several different neurologists and physicians on studies relating to cognitive impairment that we hope will contribute to slowing or even possibly stopping the progression of the disease. Although we understand that reversing the disease does not seem possible at this time, we are striving to contribute to better wellness.”
Eric Folkens, M.D
There are certain genes and proteins that may show if you are predisposed to getting Alzheimer’s disease. Testing for P-TAU is not commercially available, but the increased presence of these proteins in blood and spinal fluid that may be indicative of the disease. MRI changes may also be an indicator of this and other neurological
Patients who meet the criteria for the study and agree to participate are compensated for their time. Their “caregivers” or study partners are compensated as well. There is always a degree of risk associated with trying an experimental medicine or “investigational product”, but participants will be closely monitored for any reactions or adverse effects that may occur. Blood tests are also routinely done to examine how the “investigational product” or medicine is affecting the patient. The study is using a monoclonal antibody treatment, which is a type of protein made in the laboratory that can bind to substances in the body, or a placebo. Similar
treatments are used on a variety of other diseases including COVID-19, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
This study is designed to be a preclinical study on those who do not have dementia symptoms yet may be predisposed to the disease. The hope is to at least slow the progression of the disease.
“People need to talk more about dementia being a cause of death. If we truly understood the magnitude of neurodegenerative diseases, I believe there would be more of a drive to do these types of research studies.” Eric Folkens, M.D.
Bradenton Research Center is located at 3924 9th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205. For more information, you can contact 941-708-0005.
Beth Douglas is a writer and marketing communications professional with a passion for communications in the area of healthcare, senior care, and dementia education. She resides in Bradenton, FL, and continues to be an advocate for quality care for the senior community.