Volunteers in Iowa are needed to take part in the third phase of a long-running study on the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Research director Dr. Michael Weiner says volunteers will be visiting the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City.

“We’re taking everybody over the age of 60,” Dr. Weiner says. “We want normal people. We want people with mild memory problems. We want people who have more serious memory problems. We’re trying to develop better diagnostic techniques that can determine if you have early Alzheimer’s disease.”

In the study, there are no medications, shots or pills and the tests are mostly cognitive, in addition to a blood test and a brain scan.

“As people get older, very often they start to have little slips of memory and they get a little more forgetful,” Weiner says. “People are concerned, ‘Is this a sign of early Alzheimer’s or is this normal aging?’ That’s what our study is all about, finding better ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s to see whether people have a serious problem or not.”

About 63,000 Iowans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease and by 2020, that number will be 73,000. Weiner, who’s a radiology professor at the University of California, urges people to sign up for the study.

“You get a completely free, very thorough evaluation by real experts without cost,” Weiner says. “You get to see what modern medicine is like, what modern research is like. It’s very safe. There’s no risk and there’s no experimental treatments or experimental drugs.”

In addition to being the director of the study, Weiner says he’s also one of the subjects.

“My mom passed away from Alzheimer’s disease last year so I know how serious a problem it is and what it’s like to have it in the family,” Weiner says. “As we get older, our risk for getting Alzheimer’s disease grows and grows. This is a way to help find a cure.”

Researchers need to better understand the progression of the disease in order to speed the pace of discovery in the race to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is called the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and it’s funded by the National Institutes of Health. For more information, visit: www.adni3.org or call 888-223-6495.