Major Alzheimer's study at USF needs volunteers

Posted at 11:18 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 13:23:03-05

Thirty-five years from now, the amount of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease is expected to triple, yet there is no cure.

But right now groundbreaking research is underway at USF.

The most important part of the study is volunteers and they need more of them.

So what is it like to participate?

Watching her parents die from Alzheimer’s, motivated Connie Lesko to test a new drug that slows down memory loss.

“For me, I'm more afraid of the disease slipping up on me than I am finding out,” said Lesko.

She’s an ideal candidate for the A-4 study: 65 and older with a family history of Alzheimer's.

Next she has to qualify. It’s a five day screening process, starting with a memory test.

Some of the questions are “what is 100 take away 7?”

Then she does a brain scan where doctors are looking for a protein called amyloid that forms plaques on the brain. It can start 10 years before you ever notice symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

If Lesko passes, she will take the new drug every month for three and a half years.  

Like any medication, it comes with possible side effects like brain swelling and heart problems.

“I spent seven years dealing with Alzheimer's with my parents, so three and a half years is a snapshot," Lesko said.

The goal is to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025.

But doctors can’t get there without help from volunteers. They need 50 to move forward.

If you qualify you will be compensated.

To sign up for the study go to, or call Jill Smith at 813-974-1294.