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Participants needed for clinical trial sponsored by Alzheimer's Association in Winston-Salem

WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem logo WXII 12 Greensboro-Winston-Salem 11/25/2019
Alzheimer's Association © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Alzheimer's Association

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Every 65 seconds, someone in the nation develops the condition.

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With cases developing at such an alarming rate, many want to know if there is anything that could be done to lower the chance of developing it.

RELATED: What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

For WXII 12 Chief Meteorologist Lanie Pope, she said when her mother was diagnosed, she wondered how her mom developed it.

"Will I get it too? Is there anything to prevent it?" Lanie asked.

RELATED: WXII 12's Lanie Pope says mother's Alzheimer's diagnosis changed course of her life

Scientists at the Alzheimer's Disease and Research Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are trying to figure out who is most susceptible.

A few things to know about Alzheimer's disease:

  • One in every 10 people 65 years or older have been diagnosed
  • Almost two-thirds of Americans with a diagnosis are women
  • Older, African Americans are twice as likely to have it
  • Hispanics are about 1.5 times more likely to have it
  • There is currently no cure for the condition
  • There is currently no medications that have been successful in treating the disease

The good news?

There has been one thing proven to help prevent Alzheimer's -- and it was proven in the Piedmont Triad.

In the past year, experts at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, have published research that indicates keeping blood pressure under control could possibly prevent dementia.

RELATED: Fighting Alzheimer’s disease: Causes, symptoms, treatment options

More studies are still being done, and one of them is getting national attention as Wake Forest was the first site chosen in the country to launch a new clinical "U.S. Pointer" trial sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association.

The trial will try to prove research performed in Finland that proved that older adults stayed mentally sharp by making certain lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise, dietary approaches and staying cognitively stimulated.

RELATED: How to get help and support when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease

Doctors believe a multifaceted lifestyle intervention approach is more promising than any medications currently available.

Scottie Rader, 62, is volunteering in the study after her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Much like Lanie, Rader wonders if there is something she can be doing now that will prevent the disease.

"I use my mind, the computer, all sorts of documentation all the time as a travel company, so I have to be attuned to every detail, and it's really important to me to keep my mind alert and well," Rader said. "I've watched my mom decline over the past four years. It's definitely a real concern for me."

RELATED: Alzheimer's Disease Clinical Research Study Participation at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

If you have a family history of memory loss or dementia, researchers hope people will take part in the study at Wake Forest.

Study participants need to be between 60 and 79 years old, have a family history of memory loss or dementia, and exercise less than three times a week.

COMING UP: WXII 12 News and Lanie Pope are partnering with Wake Forest Baptist Health Center's Alzheimer's Research Center to host a phone bank to raise awareness about the disease on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The phone bank will be from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

After signing up, participants will be randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Group 1 will follow a specific program that includes weekly healthy lifestyle choices.

Group 2 will design a lifestyle program that best fits their own needs and schedules.

"It's a life-changing study that could make a difference for the rest of the world," Rader said.

COMING UP: The third segment of Lanie Pope's stories about Alzheimer's disease will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday on WXII 12 News. Lanie will explore a study that looks at what resources and support there are for caretakers of an Alzheimer's patient.

The study will also be conducted in five other communities across the United States, with each location making it specific to that geographic area and it's food, diet and exercise trends.

The study in Winston-Salem needs 300 more participants.

To get more information, call 1-833-361-7591 or send an email to pointerstudy@wakehealth.edu.

The Alzheimer's Association offers a 24/7 helpline for caregivers. The phone number is 800-272-3900.

READ THE FULL STORY:Participants needed for clinical trial sponsored by Alzheimer's Association in Winston-Salem

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