Martha Langer, caregiver to a parent with Alzheimer's disease.How long have you had a connection with the Memory and Aging Program?
My mother Catherine and I have been involved in the ENGAGE clinical study since 2015.

As a daughter to a study participant, what has the (study) experience been like for you and your family?
It’s been a great opportunity to spend more time together. When we have appointments at Butler, we make a day of it – spending time in Providence, which is where my mother grew up, going to lunch and of course, enjoying our time we spend with the wonderful staff at the hospital. My mother and I also are happy to be contributing to the study and hopefully, improving the lives of others by participating in advances in research.

Have there been any surprises for you about the clinical trial experience (or Alzheimer’s disease in general)?
Learning more about the disease has opened my eyes in regards to the early signs of Alzheimer’s. I look back and see ways in which my mother was changing, slowly, over the last ten years. At the time, those changes didn’t signal any concern. Now, I use that insight to improve her day-to-day life.

What advice would you give to families if a loved one wanted to participate in a clinical trial?
I always speak highly of the clinical trial, the doctors, and staff that are involved. And I always encourage anyone with a family member with Alzheimer’s to consider participating. In the grand scheme of life, the time required to participate is small, and the possible contributions to science and public health could be enormous. (Oh, and you get to eat at the cafeteria for free!)

What would you like people to know about Alzheimer’s as it pertains to your family life and your outlook on the future?
My view is positive – what is the alternative? I believe advances in treatment will be made in my lifetime. My mother is changing, that is evident. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying my mother every day, in whatever manner life presents itself.

Memory and Aging Program icon

The Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital is a world-wide leader in the fight against Alzheimer's. We are dedicated to developing breakthrough treatments for Alzheimer's disease through cutting-edge research into early detection and treatment.

Our research and future breakthroughs depend on the participation of people with normal memory who may be at risk for dementia and those who are already experiencing memory loss, as well as the support of committed community partners, supporters and volunteers.

Can Healthy Lifestyle Reduce Risk for Cognitive Decline?

Older man and woman holding weights, exercising

Can healthy lifestyle changes help to protect memory and thinking in aging adults who are at risk? We’re looking for people ages 60 – 79 to participate in the U.S. POINTER study to find out.


Time to Change Attitudes on Alzheimer’s – Neurologist with the Disease Explains Why

Susan Saccoccia-Olson and her father, pictured just a couple of months before his passing in 2018. Saccoccia-Olson lost both her father and her mother to Alzheimer’s disease.

After spending 25 years caring for Alzheimer’s patients Dr. Daniel Gibbs developed the disease himself. He’s now been living with it for at least 13 years, and he’s on a mission to spread an important message.


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