‘An Important Gift’ for Alzheimer’s Disease Research

Raj Shah, MD, of the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center in ChicagoBy Raj Shah, MD

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. When I was younger, I always looked forward to all the excellent food my mother would make for Thanksgiving dinner. Since my appetite for food is not quite what it was when I was a teenager, I have come to value sharing the day at home with family and friends. However, I admit that the food still is a close second.

Over the last nine years, I have been blessed to be able to spend my working days with another family — the dedicated and caring team members of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The RADC is passionate about finding ways to provide education, research and clinical care for memory loss. As a team, we are invited into the homes of many of our research participants and their families to conduct clinical studies on memory and aging. All of us realize the need to advance science to prevent, delay or slow down symptoms associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, what sustains us through the ups and downs of scientific work are the relationships we have built through the hours shared with our research participants.

So this Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to all the individuals and families who have carved out time to participate in studies at the RADC. You are a part of our family. You are all very special. You have given an important gift to help others now and in the future. Without each and every one of you, we would not have learned as much about how memory changes with age. We also would not have learned as much about what interventions may help in reducing the suffering associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

I would like to mention that we would like to add more members to our family. We have lots of food for thought regarding ideas to help understand, prevent and treat memory loss. Now we need more people to help us study whether or not these new ideas are beneficial.

We have plenty of open seats at our table. We need more healthy grandfathers and grandmothers without memory loss over the age of 70, more aunts and uncles with Alzheimer’s disease, more nieces and nephews who are their caregivers, and more brothers and sisters over the age of 50 with memory concerns or mild cognitive impairment. We need all of you to share your time and participate in our studies.

More information about our clinical studies can be found on our Web site or by contacting us at (312) 942-8264.

What can we do to get information out about participating in clinical studies? What can we do to help people recognize that they can make a difference by participating in a clinical study?

On this Thanksgiving, please share your ideas with us. If you know someone who may be interested in participating in research on memory and aging, please let them know about us.

Thinking of preventing Alzheimer’s disease (and Brussels sprouts),

Raj C. Shah, MD
Assistant professor, family medicine and Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center
Medical director, Rush Memory Clinic

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