Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

About Alzheimer's Disease: Research

Cat scanned picturesThirty years ago, we knew very little about Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, scientists have made important advances. Research supported by NIA and other organizations has expanded knowledge of brain function in healthy older people, identified ways we might lessen normal age-related declines in mental function, and deepened our understanding of the disease.

Many scientists and physicians are now working together to untangle the genetic, biological, and environmental factors that, over many years, ultimately result in Alzheimer’s. This effort is bringing us closer to better managing and someday preventing this devastating disease.

In addition, scientists are making great strides in identifying potential new interventions to diagnose, slow, prevent, treat, and someday cure Alzheimer's disease. Currently, more than 90 drugs are in clinical trials for Alzheimer's, and more are in the pipeline awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to enter human testing.

Participating in Alzheimer's Research

Alzheimer's research can move forward only if people are willing to volunteer for trials and studies. Before any new drug or therapy can used in clinical practice, it must be rigorously tested in humans to find out whether it is safe and effective. Today, at least 70,000 volunteers both with and without Alzheimer’s are urgently needed to participate in more than 150 Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials and studies in the U.S.

People with Alzheimer’s disease, those with MCI, those with a family history of Alzheimer’s, and healthy people with no memory problems and no family history of the disease may be able to take part in clinical trials. Participants in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease help scientists learn about the brain in healthy aging as well as what happens in Alzheimer’s. Results of clinical trials may lead to improved prevention and treatment approaches. Volunteering to participate in clinical trials is one way to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Find a Trial or Study

To find out more about Alzheimer’s clinical trials, talk to your health care provider or contact NIA’s ADEAR Center at 1-800-438-4380. Or, visit the ADEAR Center clinical trials database. You also can sign up for email alerts that let you know when new clinical trials are added to the database. More information about clinical trials is available at

See also: Participating in Alzheimer’s Research.


Watch a video about Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials:

View videos and other resources from THE ALZHEIMER'S PROJECT, a collaborative effort of the National Institute on Aging/NIH and HBO Documentary Films.

A 5-minute video about the 2012 Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit featuring NIH officials and grantees is also available.

A webinar video sponsored by the NIH Fogarty Center as part of its “Brain Disorders in the Developing World” program, discusses research in early-onset Alzheimer’s in families in Colombia, South America.

Featured Research

The image of hands holding puzzle pieces shadowNIA leads the Federal Government’s research efforts on Alzheimer’s disease. NIA-supported Alzheimer’s Disease Centers located throughout the United States conduct many clinical trials and carry out a wide range of research, including studies of the causes, diagnosis, and management of Alzheimer’s. NIA also sponsors the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS), a consortium of leading researchers throughout the U.S. and Canada who conduct clinical trials on promising Alzheimer’s treatments. Read more about NIA-supported Alzheimer's research »