A Horsham man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is helping to pioneer research into the illness.
Biochemist Alan Rumary, 67, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago following tests after becoming increasingly forgetful.
Now he is taking part in a trial testing an experimental drug for people suffering mild cognitive impairment.
Alan’s wife Jacqui said: “Alan began to display symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease during a period of stress at work. I don’t think he realised that he was displaying symptoms of the disease; he was forgetting things which added to the stress.
“After a visit to the GP he was referred to New Park House, our local mental health unit. At the unit they did various assessments and Alan was finally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Staff at the unit asked Alan if he would be interested in being involved in any kind of study in the future and he said yes.”
Alan is now testing an experimental drug in a trial which aims to find out if it is safe and effective in slowing down the progression, or the worsening, of Alzheimer’s disease.
Jacqui says: “I think that when people are given a diagnosis they need to be asked straight away if they would be interested in participating in research, or specifically a drug trial. People should not be afraid to ask patients and their families. The more people can be recruited, the more effective and better a research study is.”
Participants are put into one of three groups and either receive a lower-dose investigational drug; a higher-dose drug; or a placebo - a tablet with no active drug in it. It is a double-blind study which means neither the volunteer, their study partner or their doctor knows which of these study groups they are assigned.
Alan, who has now been on the trial for over a year, said: “I felt quite energised when I started the trial because I felt I was doing something positive - and I’m definitely open to do more.
“As a biochemist I know the benefit of research and when offered the opportunity I jumped at the chance to be involved in the drug trial. Hopefully someone will find some way of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or even getting rid of it.”
Alan is a member of Alzheimer’s Society’s Horsham ‘Rusty Brains’ which is a group of people living well with dementia, who raise awareness in their local communities. Alan, with others, gives talks to members of the public about Alzheimer’s disease and how they can recognise and help people with the condition.