About Clinical Trials

Whether to participate in a clinical trial is an important and personal decision. Those interested in participating in a clinical trial are encouraged to discuss this opportunity with their physician, family members, or friends before joining a trial. Trial participation is always optional, never required, and free of charge.  Before making a decision, potential participants should be given information about the intervention being studied, the length of study and frequency of visits, and the required procedures.  An opportunity to ask questions of an investigator should also always be provided.  Only when a potential participants have this information and are confident that a trial is right for them, should they choose to enroll.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a research study to test if an intervention helps treat or prevents disease in people. Therapies being tested in a clinical trial can be in many forms: vaccines, new pill medications, new devices, new lifestyle or behavioral changes, or new ways of using known therapies.  Clinical trials are used to determine whether new therapies are both safe and effective.

After researchers test new therapies or procedures in animal studies, only the most promising laboratory results are moved into clinical trials with human participants. Clinical trials may be sponsored or funded by a variety of organizations such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), private foundations,  and pharmaceutical companies.

Who can participate in a clinical trial?

All clinical trials have specific criteria for who may participate. These inclusion and exclusion criteria help ensure safety and are vital to a trial’s scientific aims.  For someone to participate in a clinical trial, they must demonstrate all of the “inclusion criteria” (e.g., be a certain age or have a specific diagnosis).  They must not demonstrate any of the “exclusion criteria” (e.g. have had a stroke or have metal in their body that prevents them from having brain scans).

What are the benefits and risks?

Benefits.  Well-designed and carefully executed clinical trials allow eligible participants to play an active role in their own health care. Participants may gain access to new treatments before they are widely available. Participants also obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities. Through their participation in studies, participants are helping others by contributing to medical research.

Risks.  There are risks to clinical trials such as adverse reactions to medications or the possibility that the treatment may not be effective for the participant. Some of side effects to the studies may be unpleasant, or even serious reactions.  Every clinical trial in the U.S. must be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to assure that the risks are minimized and are worth the potential benefits. Many studies require considerable time and effort, including multiple trips to the study site, extensive memory testing, or even complex dosage requirements.

What does it cost to participate?

There should never be a charge to participate in a clinical trial.

Where do the visits take place? 

Most visits take place at our Clinical Translational Research Center in Hewitt Hall on the UC Irvine campus in Irvine.

How long are the visits? 

On average, a visit can last 1-2 hours.

Do I need to stop taking my current medications to participate?

No, you can continue on your current medications. However, many trials require that dosages have been stable for 2 to 4 months prior to enrolling.

Will I receive feedback during the trial?

Some studies provide participants with copies of their clinical lab results, EKG tracings, and brain imaging reports.

Will I be notified about the results of the study?

Most studies provide participants with a summary of results once they are available.  Studies also generally inform participants of their study assignment (study drug vs. placebo) after there is no longer risk of biasing study results.

Will there be compensation for my participation?  

Some studies do provide compensation, but it varies from study to study.

Why should I participate in a clinical trial?  

Most people choose to participate in clinical trials for three reasons: (1) hope to help mankind; (2) trust in the researchers; (3) hope for personal benefit. To learn more about the experiences of UCI MIND research participants, click here.

 Is there a chance of getting a placebo during the trial?  

In most studies, a portion (e.g., 50%) of the participants are given placebo. This varies from study to study and is critical to the scientific aims of a study.

Are there any studies that are not double-blind?

The majority of our studies are double-blind, meaning both the investigator and the participant do not know to which arm of the study the participant is assigned. On some occasions we do conduct open label studies in which all participants receive the actual study medication. These studies, however, are usually restricted to those individuals who previously completed the double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the same medication.

Where can I find out more information about clinical trials?

Click here to see a list of research studies currently enrolling volunteers, or contact our research team at 949.824.0008 or research@mind.uci.edu.

The AHEAD Study is looking for volunteers as young as 55 to participate in a study that aims to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.


Worried about your memory?

Join the AHEAD Study today!

You may be eligible if you:

Are a healthy adult between the ages of 55 and 80.

Have not been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Visit AHEADStudy.org/AHEAD or call 1-800-AHEAD-70 (1-800-243-2370) for more information.


Researchers at UCI and UCLA are conducting a new study to test whether high doses of nicotinamide (a component of vitamin B3) can halt or reverse neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer’s disease.

Lead researcher: Joshua Grill, PhD and Steven Tam, MD

Study Title: A Phase 2, Proof-of-Concept, Double-Blind-Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Adaptive Design Trial of Nicotinamide in MCI due to AD and Mild AD Dementia

Purpose of Study: To evaluate whether nicotinamide, also known as vitamin B3 or niacinamide, can reduce phosphorylation or “over-processing” of tau (the protein that accumulates in neurofibrillary tangles) in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia.

Eligibility: Men and women, aged 50 years and above and diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment or mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Location: UCI Campus (1100 Gottschalk Medical Plaza, Irvine; ICTS at Hewitt Hall, Irvine and Newport Diagnostic Center, Newport Beach); UCLA (Center for Neurotherapeutics UCLA Medical Center 300 Medical Plaza, Westwood Blvd Los Angeles)

Time Commitment: Screening Phase (may be up to 6o days) and Treatment Phase (4 visits over a 12 month period)

Anticipated Benefits: You may or may not benefit from participating in this study. The information collected from this study may increase knowledge regarding the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and help people in the future.

Compensation: Participants are eligible to receive the following compensation in cash during the course of this study:

  • Visit 1 completion: $50
  • Visit 2 completion: $50
  • Visit 3 completion: $50
  • Visit 4 completion: $100

The grand total compensation for this study is a maximum of $250 in cash

Reimbursement: Participants will not be reimbursed for travel-related expenses.

Contact name, UCI Department, Phone Number and Email:

Ivy Nguyen

Clinical Trials Research Inquiry Coordinator

Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND)

Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC)

1100 Gottschalk Medical Plaza

Irvine, CA 92697-4285

(949) 824-0008



UCI IRB Approved: 05-25-2018 | MOD# 24074 | HS# 2016-3246