Why I Volunteer For Research, Part II

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This 2nd part in Ann Hedreen’s series about being an Alzheimer’s research subject will both make you cringe – ugh, lumbar puncture – and will make you proud to know that someone such as Ms. Hedreen exists in this oftentimes self-centered world in which we live. As someone whose father died from Alzheimer’s complications, I am most appreciative of her efforts. Although monetary donations are greatly needed, for me I find it far easier to open my wallet than to offer my spine for research. Not only did Ann offer her spine, she did it more than once.


end alz

by Ann Hedreen

Continued from last week…

Although being a control subject in Alzheimer’s research studies involves plenty of memory tests, there are neurological tests too. I was tickled with feathers, tapped on the elbows and knees, peered at with a penlight in my eyes. And there were psychological questions: On a scale of one to ten, do you usually feel life is worth living?

I was weighed and measured. I gave blood. I peed in a cup. My family tree was drawn, with special attention to anything that might be relevant: Grandma Cere’s Parkinson’s disease; Great Aunt Eine’s Alzheimer’s disease, which started in her seventies. I was approved for a lumbar puncture, more commonly known as a spinal tap, and a week later, I came back and curled up in a ball while two tablespoons of fluid were extracted from my spine with a long quivery needle: two…

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One thought on “Why I Volunteer For Research, Part II

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    January 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing Ann’s post.


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