Alzheimer's Trial Participation Linked to Study Partner

Patients with non-spouse caregivers participate less frequently; have higher dropout rate

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) with non-spouse caregivers participate less frequently in AD clinical trials, according to research published online Dec. 19 in Neurology.

Joshua D. Grill, Ph.D., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of six Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) randomized clinical trials to examine the prevalence of study partner types and how these types impact patient-related outcome measures.

The researchers found that 67 percent of AD participants were enrolled with spouses, compared to 26 percent with adult children and 7 percent with other caregivers. The dropout rate was substantially lower for those with a spouse caregiver (25 percent) compared with an adult child caregiver (32 percent) or other caregiver (34 percent), with the difference versus others reaching statistical significance. Compared to those with spouse partners, participants with an adult child or other caregiver who were randomized to placebo performed worse on the ADCS-Activities of Daily Living at baseline, but no differences were seen at 18 months. No differences were seen at baseline for the Mini-Mental State Examination, Clinical Dementia Rating scale Sum of the Boxes score, or cognitive subscale of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale.

"Patients with non-spouse caregivers less frequently participate in AD dementia trials," the authors write. "Increased enrollment of AD patients with non-spouse caregivers may require additional recruitment and retention strategies."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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