Participant Spotlight

Spotlight on Clinical Trial Participants
Clinical trial participants are on the front line in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. These heroes are making a difference both being part of research and encouraging more people to volunteer for clinical trials.

Karen Segal, Chicago, Il.


In the news: NY 1, NBC’s Today Show, Parade

Clinical Trial Participant: Weill Cornell Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic

Her story: In 2002, after her mother was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, Karen shifted her focus to raising awareness and fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association. She has been an active board member of the Chicago Rita Hayworth Gala Committee and co-chaired the 2014 Chicago Gala. In 2015, Karen joined the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s board and is focusing her efforts on advocating for increased focus on Alzheimer’s prevention efforts.

Quote: “As there is no treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease at this time, we need to focus on studying family members of patients and tracking the changes at the earliest stages. We need to push for greater urgency to defeat this devastating disease.”

Greg O’Brien, Cape Cod, Ma.


In the news: Onpluto

His story: An award-winning investigative reporter and author, Greg was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2009. He has been writing, chronicling, and talking about the process ever since. Greg’s book, On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s , has been described as “heartbreaking, defiant, profound” and a new edition was just released this summer. Greg has served on the national Alzheimer’s Association Early Onset Advisory Group, is a patient advocate for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund of Boston, and is a board member of the distinguished UsAgainstAlzheimers in Washington, D.C.

Quote: “I carry the Alzheimer’s marker gene APOE-4. I know the frontline well: Alzheimer’s stole my maternal grandfather, my mother, my paternal uncle, and before my father’s death, he also was diagnosed with dementia. After a visit to my pity party, I got off the mat to dance with Alzheimer’s, strategies for living with the disease in faith, hope, and humor.”

Daisy Duarte, Springfield, Mo.


In the news: People Magazine, NBC’s Today Show, Kansas City Star, PBS “Every Minute Counts”

Clinical Trial Participant: The Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Her story: Daisy is a caregiver, clinical trial participant and advocate for the LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s Network. She has been a caregiver for her mother, Sonia, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2013 at age 55. In 2014, Daisy tested positive for the gene linked to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. As one of the few Latinas enrolled in an Alzheimer’s clinical trial, Daisy is committed to raising awareness of the importance of Alzheimer’s research and funding.

Quote: “It’s so important for Latinos and other minorities to engage in clinical trial research. We need to make sure that our communities have a voice in the research process and we have to take responsibility for our families and for ourselves.”

Barbara Walker, Lee’s Summit, Mo.


In the news: FOX News/Kansas City, KCUR-FM KHI.org

Clinical Trial Participant: University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Her story: Barbara was a caregiver for her husband, Harvey, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 56. She was his caregiver for 6½ years before he passed away due to complications of Alzheimer’s. They were married for 38 years and have 3 daughters and 7 grandchildren.

Quote: “I am committed to doing everything I can to help find a cure or stop the progression and ultimately eradicate the illness so that no family faces hardships and devastation this illness can cause. I know that as I age, my chances of getting the disease increase and I’m concerned for my children and future heirs. I encourage people to consider volunteering for a clinical research program. My dream is that they will eradicate the disease completely.”