A clinical trial is a research study to find out whether new medicines or other treatments are both safe and effective. Clinical trials most often take place at research centers and universities  across the United States. Joining a clinical trial, also called a research study, is a way for you and the person with AD to help find ways to prevent or treat AD .
A clinical trial gives the person a chance to get a new treatment from researchers, before the government approves it. The new treatment might be a new medicine or a new way to care for someone with AD. A clinical trial is another way to get care from experts. Being in a study also gives you and the person with AD a chance to help others who have the disease.
But, you should keep in mind that clinical trials may have some risks. Be sure to look at the benefits and risks of a clinical trial before you decide whether or not to participate.
To join, you first must find a study that is looking for people like you or the person with AD. For more information about AD clinical trials and studies, visit www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/volunteer  or call 1-800-438-4380. An information specialist can help you look for a clinical trial.
The government has strict rules to protect the safety and privacy of people in clinical trials. The researchers conducting the study are required by law to tell the patient and/or family members all of the risks and benefits of taking part in the study. This is called the informed consent process.
As part of this process, volunteers read an informed consent form. The form explains the study, its risks and benefits, and the rights of the person taking part in the study. The laws and rules about informed consent differ across States and research centers.
Some clinical trials will pay you back for transportation costs, child care, meals, and lodging; others won't. Talk with the study coordinator about these costs.
For more information, read Participating in Alzheimer's Research .