It is an exciting time in the world of research into better diagnostic tools and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Professionals all over the globe are feverishly working to find ways to slow and treat the disease, as well as hopefully one day cure it or prevent it in the first place. Funding for this research is at an all-time high, both by governmental grants and private funding.
For the general public, however, the vast amount of information out there can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. If you want to find good, scientifically-based information, where do you go? How do you sort through the “fake news” to find information about what is actually happening and what progresses in research are real? Here at Iris Memory Care, we strongly support these research efforts, as well as believing in the importance of keeping abreast of the latest news and trends in research. We’d like to share a few tips and tricks to help you do the same!
Tips for Deciphering Fact from Fiction
It’s important in the age of the internet that one be a skilled critical thinker when reading articles online. When trying to determine if the information you are reading is reliable, accurate, and scientifically-based, consider the following:
- Author – Information on the internet with a listed author is one indication of a credible site. The fact that the author is willing to stand behind the information presented (and in some cases, include his or her contact information) is a good indication that the information is reliable.
- Date – The date of any research information is important, including information found on the Internet. By including a date, the website allows readers to make decisions about whether that information is recent enough for their purposes.
- Sources – Credible websites, like books and scholarly articles, should cite the source of the information presented.
- Domain – Some domains such as .com, .org, and .net can be purchased and used by any individual. However, the domain .edu is reserved for colleges and universities, while .gov denotes a government website. These two are usually credible sources for information (though occasionally a university will assign a .edu address to each of its students for personal use, in which case use caution when citing). Be careful with the domain .org, because .org is usually used by non-profit organizations which may have an agenda of persuasion rather than education.
- Site Design – This can be very subjective, but a well-designed site can be an indication of more reliable information. Good design helps make information more easily accessible.
- Writing Style – Poor spelling and grammar are an indication that the site may not be credible. In an effort to make the information presented easy to understand, credible sites watch writing style closely.
Ways to Access Published Research
The National Institutes of Health and the US National Library of Medicine hosts a website called PubMed. PubMed comprises more than 29 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites, or they may only provide abstracts of the content. This is a very reliable way for the public to gain access to information directly from researchers after publication.
Another relatively trustworthy source of academic publications is Google Scholar. This website is simply a search engine for open-source, publicly available academic research.
If you wish to pay for access to published research, a valuable journal for following research in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. An annual subscription to this journal ranges from about $230 - $260, depending on if you want printed journals or just online access.
If you live in an area with a university, you may wish to obtain a guest pass to the university library. It is not common knowledge that universities often will provide access to their library of scholarly journals to the public. It is assumed that university libraries can only be accessed by students, professors, and staff of the university, but this is not the case. It can’t ever hurt to ask! Each university has its own policies about access for the public.
Important International Conference
Started in 1988 as the International Conference for Alzheimer’s Disease, the premier annual conference for collaboration among researchers and students is now named the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, or AAIC. The conference has been growing steadily since 2008, with record turnout during the London conference of 2017. News outlets around the globe cover the conference, and the general public usually benefits from these news reports. Updates and breakthroughs are presented at the conference, and recently published successes are shared. The news page for the conference page can be found at the following link: https://www.alz.org/aaic/pressroom.asp. The 2019 conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA July 14-18.
We hope this information is helpful for you! We are always glad to help answer questions and help individuals navigate the world of research in Alzheimer’s and dementia. Contact us today!