Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center

About Alzheimer's Disease: Research

Cat scanned picturesResearch 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 Alzheimer’s disease.

Many scientists and physicians are now working together to identify and understand the genetic, biological, and environmental factors that, over many years, cause Alzheimer’s. This effort is bringing us closer to better treatment for and prevention of this devastating disease.

In addition, scientists are making great strides in identifying potential new ways to diagnose, slow, treat, and someday prevent 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.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease research, see NIA’s latest Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report.

Participating in Alzheimer's research

Alzheimer's research can move forward only if people are willing to volunteer for clinical 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 are urgently needed to participate in more than 150 Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials and studies in the U.S.

Everybody—those with Alzheimer’s disease or MCI as well as healthy volunteers with or without a family history of Alzheimer’s—may be able to take part in clinical trials and studies. Participants in Alzheimer’s clinical research help scientists learn how the brain changes in healthy aging and in Alzheimer’s.

Find a trial or study

To find out more about Alzheimer’s clinical trials and studies, talk to your health care provider or a memory or neurology clinic in your community. Or contact NIA’s ADEAR Center at 1-800-438-4380. You can also visit the ADEAR Center clinical trials finder and 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 and

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 »