John is a retired paramedic from Manchester who recently took part in a clinical trial for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) at MAC Clinical Research.
MCI is a condition which causes difficulty with cognition, affecting mental abilities for example memory or thinking. It is estimated that between 5 and 20% of people aged over 65 have MCI.
Those living with MCI struggle with cognitive tasks more than a healthy person at their age, but the symptoms are not severe enough to interfere significantly with daily life, and so are not defined as a dementia. Only approximately one third of people with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer’s.
John was diagnosed with MCI four years ago. He said: “I didn’t think anything of it at first, but then I went to the doctors. I have a lot of mental blocks when I’m speaking to people. Someone will say something, and I’ll know what I want to say but it won’t come out right.
“I noticed it when I was working. I’d be working with the same person everyday and then someone would ask me ‘who are you working with today?’ and I’d just completely forget. I knew who it was in my mind, but I couldn’t remember their name.”
When out with friends, John would struggle to join in with conversations, pretending to know what the group were talking about or avoid joining in at all.
He wishes people had a better understanding of how MCI can affect memories; John said: “I remember a lot more stuff from the eighties than now. So, if we’re talking about that time and things I remember, and people will say ‘well I can’t remember that so you can’t be having memory problems!’. It’s not stuff from 20, 30 years ago, it’s day-to-day things that it affects.”
This was John’s first clinical study; he said: “You only hear the horror stories about clinical trials, don’t you? But I’ve worked in the NHS for 30 years and we need clinical trials to move healthcare forward. It’s the only way!”
He was not nervous before taking part in this clinical trial. The study involved a drug that is already on the market for a different condition. This process is known as drug repurposing or repositioning which involves identifying new disease areas for existing drugs.
John said: “The trial has given me hope for future treatments because without them things are never going to change and taking part in the trial fitted in well with my day-to-day life.”
For people considering taking part in a clinical trial, John encourages them to participate if they are able to.
MAC Clinical Research are conducting a clinical trial investigating an existing drug (that was originally developed for asthma) to see if the medication may help with cognition, for example remembering, thinking and problem-solving.
We are currently looking for male and female participants aged 50-80 who are living with:
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Parkinson’s disease dementia
- Parkinson’s with sleep disorders (suitable for eligible participants aged 40-80)
to participate in these new clinical trials. With volunteer participation, strides towards helping people around the world can be made, potentially improving the quality of life for many people living with these conditions.
The trial is running at our clinics in Lancashire, South Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. Eligible participants will receive up to £680. For more information or to register yours or a loved one’s interest, visit our website.