|Home||Who We Are||Patient Care||Research||News & Events||Programs & Services||Gifts||Contact & Directions|
People with Alzheimer's disease are less likely to participate in a clinical trial if they have non-spouse caregivers, according to a study by a team of researchers including the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The new study, published in the December 19th, 2012, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, demonstrates that additional recruitment and retention strategies may be required to increase enrollment of AD patients with caregivers other than spouses.
"The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for by caregivers who are not their spouses, but we discovered that in Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials, most patients’ caregivers are their spouses," said senior study author Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director of the Penn Memory Center and professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Research Coordinator Jessica Nuñez was recently awarded the 2012 Healthcare Hero award through Penn Medicine. Jessica received the nomination from Lori and Keith Crammer, a participant and informant couple formerly involved in the bapineuzumab, or Bapi, study. After getting a brochure from Penn in the mail about the award, the Crammers decided to nominate Jessica for her devotion as a research coordinator on the study and for her constantly upbeat attitude during their research visits at the Penn Memory Center.
"Why did we nominate Jess? Because we love her," Lori Crammer said.
"It's always good to see her. She always has a smile on her face," added Keith Crammer. "She's great."
For Jessica, receiving the Healthcare Hero award was a welcome pat on the back for her work as a coordinator at the Penn Memory Center.
"After working here for so many years it shows that people trust me with their loved one's care. It's an amazing feeling because you do it not for gratification but because it's something you want to find a cure for, and it feels good when someone acknowledges the dedication and time you give to the visits," Jessica said.
Be sure to take a look at Jessica's Healthcare Hero 2012 pin, which she wears proudly to commemorate the award and what her efforts mean to the Crammers.
On December 11, Melissa Livney, PsyD, clinical psychologist at the Penn Memory Center, and George and Betsy Ulmer, a couple participating in Alzheimer's research at the Penn Memory Center, were featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams segment titled "Caregivers neglect their own health in order to look after others." The number of Alzheimer's patients, and in turn caregivers, in the United States is growing, and the segment focuses on the stress that Alzheimer's disease can cause for caregivers.
“People need to give themselves permission to take care of themselves,” says Dr. Livney. “That’s what we focus on. We don’t spend much time talking about the disease and functional aspects of caring for someone with dementia. We try to help people understand how to take care of themselves."