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Clinical Trials and Tribulations

Eric M. Reiman, MD

Published: March 15, 2007

Article Abstract

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Three articles in this issue of The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry call attention to challenges faced by researchers and clinicians seeking to establish and provide the best possible care for patients and families afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Here’s one challenge: As the number of promising treatments to slow down Alzheimer’s -related clinical decline grows, it is increasingly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to enroll and properly study the required number of patients in clinical trials. Compounding this mounting problem, several randomized clinical trials have recently reported an unexpectedly slow rate of clinical decline in their placebo groups, reducing the statistical power of these studies and leading researchers to suggest the need for larger sample sizes, longer treatment durations, and even greater funding for clinical trials.’ ‹

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