Dear Abby: Volunteers needed for memory study

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DEAR ABBY: More than 10,000 baby boomers in the U.S. turn 65 every day, and enter the “age of risk” for Alzheimer’s disease. I have witnessed the devastating effects of this disease in my work as a neurologist, as a clinical researcher, and sadly, in my own family.

The good news is that we are now starting prevention trials to try to stop memory loss before it begins! The A4 (Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s) Study is the first clinical trial designed for people who have the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease beginning in the brain, but don’t yet have any symptoms of the disease.

The A4 Study is enrolling healthy 65- to 85-year-olds across the country who may be at risk for memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.

I feel a new sense of hope, but we really need volunteers to join us. Our motto for the A4 Study is “Now is the time,” and now really IS the time to make a difference in defeating Alzheimer’s disease.

I hope your readers who are interested will call (toll-free) (844) 247-8839 or visit A4study.org to receive more information or to join us. — REISA SPERLING, M.D., PROJECT DIRECTOR, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

DEAR DR. SPERLING: I’m pleased to alert my readers to your clinical trial. Living to a “ripe old age” can be a mixed blessing because the older we get, the greater the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease entering the picture.

Readers, Dr. Sperling is looking for subjects with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or who, through prescreening, have been discovered to have amyloid plaques forming in the brain. There are more than 65 study sites throughout the U.S. and several in Canada, so you may be able to find a location near you.

DEAR ABBY: I have been somewhat taken aback by two retirement party invitations I received lately. Both require an “entrance fee” of $15 to $20.

I have never heard of or experienced something like this before. When I retired from teaching 10 years ago, I held my own retirement party at my home. I supplied the food and beverages and requested “no gifts, please.”

Is there a new custom that requires people to pay an admission price to a party? If someone pays to go to the party, is he/she also expected to bring a gift?

Honestly, I’m a little put off being asked to pay to celebrate my friends’ retirements. Should I be, or is this an appropriate request? — WONDERING IN OHIO

DEAR WONDERING: I don’t blame you for feeling put off. I don’t know who is supposedly giving the parties for your friends, but if you’re being asked to pay for your food and beverages, it appears that no host is.

If you pay to attend these parties, your PRESENCE should be your gift. And if you choose not to go, I wouldn’t blame you.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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