SIU School of Medicine is seeking patients and care partners for clinical trials testing the effectiveness of treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

The school’s Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (CADRD) is helping to coordinate four separate studies of treatments for memory loss. Two of the trials test existing treatments for patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s.

The studies require patients with a diagnosis of memory loss or mild to severe Alzheimer’s. Participants receive a travel stipend and free study-related medical exams and assessments.

“The impact of Alzheimer’s disease both for sufferers and their loved ones is staggering, and many people living with AD may feel left behind when it comes to options that could improve the quality of life of those dealing with complications,” said Dr. Tom Ala, associate professor of clinical neurology and interim director of CADRD. “Being part of a clinical research trial is an opportunity to help advance doctors’ understanding and treatment of Alzheimer’s.”

On May 8, SIU also announced the launch of a new program offering help for first-time, low-income mothers and families.

“In the past, health care has been about taking care of those who knock on our door,” said Dr. Jerry Kruse, SIU dean and provost. “We know now that is not good enough.”

SIU Family and Community Medicine recently joined the nationwide Nurse-Family Partnership program, in which SIU nurses will provide home visits and support to 100 women in Sangamon County. The program was adopted as a recommendation of the Sangamon County Continuum of Learning Coordinating Council and funded with grants and contributions from the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John’s Hospital. It offers low-income families help improving health, education and self-sufficiency.

“The Community Foundation and many other partners have been looking at bringing the Nurse-Family Partnership to Sangamon County for nearly a decade,” said John Stremsterfer, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “It has been proven to transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

To staff the program, SIU will hire two community health nurses and a nursing supervisor.

“The NFP is an important step in enhancing the health of children in Springfield,” said Dr. Tracey Smith, director of community outreach for the SIU Center for Family Medicine. “In existing NFP sites, extensive research and controlled trials have displayed evidence of long-term positive outcomes for program participants, including improved prenatal health, fewer childhood injuries, fewer subsequent pregnancies, increased maternal employment and improved school readiness for the children.”