P&S Journal: Winter 1998, Vol.18, No.1
Research Participation and Nursing Home Admission
Alzheimer's disease patients who take part in clinical trials are half as likely as non-participating patients to be placed in nursing homes, according to a study published in the July 1997 issue of Neurology.
The study involved 215 Alzheimer's patients who were offered opportunities to participate in various clinical trials; 101 participated in at least one clinical trial over two years plus an 18-month follow-up. The participants were compared with 57 people who met trial eligibility requirements but chose not to participate and 57 people who were ineligible to participate in randomized clinical trials because of a life-threatening condition or other reasons.
About 17 percent of the trial participants were admitted to nursing homes during the trial or follow-up period, compared with about 35 percent among the eligible and ineligible patients who did not participate in trials.
"Alzheimer's disease is a relentless disease that kills people at roughly the same rate, and participating in a clinical trial won't change that," says the study's author, Dr. Steven Albert, assistant professor of neuropsychology and public health in the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center. "However, clearly there are benefits to participating, such as reducing nursing home placement. It can't hurt to have more contact with the medical sector when dealing with a chronic degenerative disease such as Alzheimer's.