When researchers are looking for participants in studies, announcements are made in trade publications and local news. Websites that list clinical trials are also full of information on studies that need volunteers. In Corpus Christi, TX a new study that will investigate aging and cognition will find some clinicians and scientists knocking on doors to get older residents to consider being part of their research.
BASIC, which stands for Brain Attack Surveillance In Corpus Christi, is an organization of researchers from the University of Michigan that has been studying strokes, with a focus on Mexican Americans and how ethnicity impacts outcomes, for years. The latest part of the study, called BASIC-Cognition will look at cognitive impairment as people age and how care might differ among ethnic and socioeconomic groups.
The plan is to enroll roughly 800 participants, which means to get enough subjects, researchers will have to knock on close to 14,000 doors. Residents will be asked simple questions about their health and if they agree to participate, follow up evaluations will be done. Teams looking to enroll patients in the study have fluency and study materials in both Spanish and English.
Nelda Garcia, the project manager for the study, told KRIS-TV News, "Our big goal is to understand how brain function changes as we age. The key thing is, is that whatever we learn here, it's valuable information. And it's going to be something that not only is going to benefit our community, but also other communities through the country."
The location matters for the kind of research being done. While nationwide the statistics on Alzheimer's are on the rise, the number of cases in Texas is higher than most. Texas ranks fourth in the United States for the number of Alzheimer's patients, and it has the number two spot for deaths related to the neurological disorder. The demographics of Nueces County are also considered ideal for research. From economics to ethnic groups and age range, the researchers will have a "real world" setting for their study.
When speaking with residents during the interviews, the Montreal scale will be used, which is a cognitive assessment that asks participants to do simple math problems and remember words from a list. The study will look only at adults who are 65 years or older. Once complete, the researchers hope to have enough data to break out risk and other information in specific ethnic groups, to see if there is any disparity in care and incidence that can be attributed to race or other factors. County public health officials are making residents aware of the project, in hopes that they will get a strong response. The video has more information about the study, take a look.