Seniors would allow families to enroll them in Alzheimer's research, report finds

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Many older Americans would approve of having family members enroll them in Alzheimer's research projects in the event they become cognitively impaired due to the disease, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed older Americans to find out their views on this potentially contentious issue. The majority of respondents—68% to 83%, depending on the scenario—endorse family surrogate consent. Between 57% and 80% expressly said they would like to participate in research, and 55% to 67% said they would be willing to give some or all of the decision making control to a family surrogate, according to the findings.

Though survey respondents seem to approve of surrogate consent, regulations remain unclear. While federal law allows for surrogate consent for clinical trials, it is individual states that decide who those surrogates can be. Only California, New Jersey and Virginia have clear-cut laws governing surrogate consent; the law in all other states remains murky, according to researchers. Their findings appear in the Jan 13 issue of the journal Neurology.