Memory study needs subjects

The Murdock Study is signing up Cabarrus County and Kannapolis residents for a long-term research project into Alzheimer's, hoping it will one day lead to treatments for the disease.

Known as the Memory Health Study, the project needs volunteers who are 55 and older who haven't been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or untreated psychiatric conditions, such as serious depression, that can often affect memory.

Volunteers will contribute basic information about themselves, their medical history and samples of blood and urine. They'll also take tests for vision, speech, thinking, concentration and memory.

Lead researchers are Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, a Duke University psychiatry professor and director of the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Duke University Medical Center; and Allen Roses, professor of neurobiology and director of the Deane Drug Discovery Institute at Duke University.

In announcing the study, the researchers said they hope it will give a better understanding of what leads to the disease, thereby enabling the development of disease-modifying treatments.

Anyone interested in participating should call the Murdock Study office at 704-250-5861 or email to schedule a one-time study visit at a convenient location in Kannapolis/Cabarrus County.

Billionaire Dole Food owner David Murdock provided a $35 million gift in 2007 to launch the Murdock Study at the North Carolina Research Campus, his $1.5 billion biotechnology complex in downtown Kannapolis.

The overall long-term study continues to build a bank of individuals' biological samples, matched with their medical history, demographics and other descriptors to help Duke University researchers and partners better understand diseases that commonly affect public health.