As the leading cause of dementia worldwide, Alzheimer's disease has garnered intense academic and clinical interest. Yet, trials in search of a disease-modifying therapy have failed overwhelmingly. We suggest that, in part, this may be attributable to the influence of disruptive variables inherent to the framework of a clinical trial. Specifically, we observe that everyday factors such as diet, education, mental exertion, leisure participation, multilingualism, sleep, trauma, and physical activity, as well as clinical/study parameters including environment, family coaching, concurrent medications, and illnesses may serve as potent confounders, disruptors, or sources of bias to an otherwise significant drug-disease interaction. This perspective briefly summarizes the potential influence of these hidden variables on the outcomes of clinical trials and suggests strategies to abate their impact.
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