NewsHillsborough County


Participants needed for Alzheimer’s Disease study at USF Health

Participants ages 55+ wanted
Posted at 1:10 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 09:02:53-04

While most of the world is focused on the coronavirus and the pandemic, researchers at USF Health and various institutions around the world continue to study Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the University of South Florida Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute are enrolling people for the AHEAD Study. ABC Action News spoke with Dr. Amanda Smith, the Director of Clinical Research at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute, to get more insight on the study being done in Tampa Bay and around the world.

She explained they are recruiting local patients aged 55-80 who are currently not experiencing memory loss. Researchers hope to find diverse participants so they can ultimately find a cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s that works for everyone.

“We understand that changes in the brain start happening 10 to 15 years before people start to get the very first symptoms of forgetfulness. This study aims to identify those people and intervene before they ever get any symptoms at all,” said Dr. Smith.

The process begins with a quick questionnaire online and then a screening for people who qualify. Dr. Smith explains what happens after the screening visit.

“If they pass that part, then they go on to having an amyloid PET scan. What that does is show if there is amyloid pathology in their brain – that’s the hallmark of Alzheimer’s – starting to build up and then they can enroll in the trial,” said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith says the study divides into two groups, depending on the level of amyloid. The researchers will then use a personalized approach to intervention and dosing of medication. Learn more details about the medication and the AHEAD Study here.

If you or your loved one wants to participate and see if you qualify click here. You can also reach out directly to the University of South Florida Byrd Alzheimer’s Center and Research Institute by calling 813-396-0611.