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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alzheimer’s Disease Breakthrough

For my Dad... to the left aka Grampa Jack

From the point of view from someone that actually has Alzheimer’s disease it must be frustrating to know that you are slowly losing everything you know that is you. You will forget who you wife or husband is and fear them. You will forget who your own children are and be cautious and accusatory toward them. Eventually, you will forget everything that ever mattered in your life and find yourself crying because you will know that you are lost. Having seen my own father go through it, it would terrify me to think that there but for the grace of God go I. This debilitating disease robs your mind of all of the memories that were your life and as we baby boomers get older and more fragile we better start to care more about the research that is needed to make it the Small Pocks cure for our generation, and the next, and the next.

Researchers are now finding new answers to old questions by looking at the reverse angle of Alzheimer’s Disease. Beta amyloid build up in the brain otherwise known as plaque was thought to be the body building to much of the needed chemical in the brain but current thought is looking at it as the body not being able to dispose of the beta amyloid properly. Amazing stuff if you care to read about it over at the New York Times…

Alzheimer’s researchers are obsessed with a small, sticky protein fragment, beta amyloid, that clumps into barnaclelike balls in the brains of patients with this degenerative neurological disease.

It is a normal protein. Everyone’s brain makes it. But the problem in Alzheimer’s is that it starts to accumulate into balls — plaques. The first sign the disease is developing — before there are any symptoms — is a buildup of amyloid. And for years, it seemed, the problem in Alzheimer’s was that brain cells were making too much of it.

But now, a surprising new study has found that that view appears to be wrong. It turns out that most people with Alzheimer’s seem to make perfectly normal amounts of amyloid. They just can’t get rid of it. It’s like an overflowing sink caused by a clogged drain instead of a faucet that does not turn off.

That discovery is part of a wave of unexpected findings that are enriching scientists’ views of the genesis of Alzheimer’s disease. In some cases, like the story of amyloid disposal, the work points to new ways to understand and attack the disease. If researchers could find a way to speed up disposal, perhaps they could slow down or halt the disease. - New York Times

When you think about all of the programs in America where mentors that are retired are helping the younger generations to avoid the mistakes they made in business and in life it is such a waste to see so many brilliant minds lost to Alzheimer’s disease. There is no greater loss in the world than knowledge and inside each one of these senior citizens minds is a wealth more valuable than gold.

This disease should be on the fast track to cure and yet it is just one of those old people problems that nobody thinks about till it actually punches you in the gut and it is someone that you love that is affected. Then it never leaves your conscious thought even after your loved one is long gone. And I’m not talking about dead and buried.


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Blogger Infidel753 said...

There is actually promising work underway on Alzheimer's. A vaccine approach (stimulating the body's own immune system to eliminate the beta-amyloid) has shown great promise in animal testing, but when human tests began a few years ago, dangerous side effects (brain inflammations) appeared. That problem now seems to have been solved, however. Alzheimer's will be beaten.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Papamoka said...

That is some awesome news! Thanks Infidel. :)))))))))

6:19 AM  

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