One Texas woman is taking part in an Alzheimer's study after losing her father to the disease. Study participant Sharon Tyler gets regular treatments at Houston Methodist Hospital
Sharon says when her dad died in 1990, they didn't know much about Alzheimer’s, but looking back, she's sure he had it.
"You know when he couldn't remember mom's name in a social environment; he's been married to my mother for 45 years and to have a blank, that was not daddy,” Sharon Tyler said.
She's a part of a national study known as anti-amyloid treatment. Doctors are removing excess beta amyloid, a protein buildup from her brain.
She knows she has this buildup from MRI scans. Researchers know it begins forming in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s, 10 to 20 years before initial symptoms.
"We give them this medication to reduce the amount of amyloid in the brain and we can scan them again after a number of months and see whether the amount of amyloid in the brain is less then," said Dr. Joseph Masdeu with Houston Methodist Nantz National Alzheimer's Center.
Dr. Joseph Masdeu hopes when this study is over, they will be able to prove this can delay cognitive decline and memory. He says medications aren't doing it well enough.
"What we are aiming at with this study is to change the course of the disease. That is either to prevent it before it happens or once it has started, to stop it so the person doesn't die from it," Masdeu said.
Sharon says she's concerned about getting the disease, but that's not her only motivation to stay in the study.
"I hope that we find a cure. fast! but if it takes a while it takes a while, at least i will have done something. for me, for my family, for mankind," Tyler said.
The A4 Study is a landmark public-private partnership, funded by the National Institute on Aging/NIH, Eli Lilly and Company, and several philanthropic organizations.