Researchers in need of Okanagan residents to participate in Alzheimer’s study

A medical research group is looking for Okanagan residents who have moderate to severe agitation

A medical research group is looking for Okanagan residents who have moderate to severe agitation due to Alzheimer’s to participate in an upcoming study.

Researchers have discovered that agitation, defined as behaviour changes that seem out of character or extreme, can be found in more than half of the people with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s really hard on families especially when a loved one develops agitated Alzheimer’s,” said Donna Benson, CEO and founder of Medical Arts Health Research Group. “Every day can be unpredictable and the behaviour changes put a lot of stress on families.”

Related: Okanagan clinical team to research Alzheimer’s Disease drug

These changes include one or more of the following behaviours: excessive motor activity; verbal aggression; or physical aggression, and can affect the whole family.

“Excessive motor activity is characterized by pacing and aimlessly wandering, repetitive mannerisms like tapping, fidgeting or picking at things, general restlessness, rocking, gesturing or even pointing fingers,” Benson said.

“Verbal aggression is cursing or verbal combativeness, shouting, speaking in an excessively loud voice, screaming or even yelling. Most of us may be aware of the physical aggression symptoms which can include hitting or kicking, pushing or grabbing, biting or scratching, spitting, throwing things, hurting themselves or others, tearing or destroying property, shoving, resisting or even slamming doors,” she said.

Related: Summerland woman rises to the challenges of Alzheimer’s

Medical Arts Health Research Group is looking for people between the ages of 50 and 90 with moderate to severe agitation due to Alzheimer’s disease that live in the Okanagan (the study takes place in Penticton, Kelowna and West Vancouver) to participate in the study.

Related: B.C. gives $2.7M boost to Alzheimer’s funding

“We know that loved ones with agitated Alzheimer’s don’t realize what they are doing is hurting others or themselves and many families are at a loss as to what to do,” said Benson. “We are pleased that the Medical Arts Health Research Group has been selected as a clinical research site for several important studies on agitation in Alzheimer’s disease and we are looking forward to being able to bring this option of care to Kelowna. We are hoping that families may experience a reduction in agitation symptoms and that this makes life more peaceful for the family.”

Related: Cure for Alzheimer’s disease remains elusive

There are only a few spaces available for volunteers to participate in the study. Patients who qualify for the studies, will receive all study related medical exams and assessments at no cost.

“We have a strong team of nurses, doctors and co-ordinators who will be working with patients and caregivers to determine whether they are eligible for participation. Patients will be reimbursed for any travel and or accommodation expenses,” said Benson.

To find out if you, or someone you know has a loved one who may be eligible to participate in the study call the Medical Arts Health Research Group at 1-888-490-4320 or visit www.healthresearch.ca/agitated_alzheimers/.

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