Saturday, January 22, 2005

WOW! Alzheimer's damage is "reversible" with "rapid recovery", study finds

Hot damn!! This just keeps getting better and better!

First was yesterday's news that the "master gene" triggering cancer has been discovered. So far as medical research goes, that's maybe bigger than Enrico Fermi figuring out controlled nuclear fission. With a bit more studying, we might stand a chance of wiping most and maybe even all cancer and very soon at that.

And if that wasn't miraculous news already, findings from another study are being made public and DEAR LORD THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR GIVING US A CHANCE AGAINST THIS!! MAYBE BEATING CANCER WAS INCREDIBLY GRACIOUS ENOUGH BUT THAT WE MIGHT CAN LICK THIS... OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, SHOW THOSE BOYS AND GIRLS IN THE WHITE LABCOATS EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PROTEIN FOLDING OR ANTIBODY EFFECTIVE RATES OR WHATEVER 'CUZ I'VE BEEN PRAYING THAT BOTH OF THESE COULD GET CURED BUT NEVER THOUGHT BOTH WOULD HAPPEN AND THIS FAST!!!

I don't care how ridiculous that comes across. Dammit, I've lost too many people over the past few years to cancer and Alzheimer's. So don't NOBODY suggest that that was over-the-top because I've damned-well earned the right to rejoice as loud as I wanna get about this. Oh yeah, what's that other news? From the AP via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Mouse experiment on clearing of brain plaques may offer hope in Alzheimer's research

JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2005

(01-20) 14:31 PST ST. LOUIS (AP) --

Brain cells in mice recovered rapidly after brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease were removed, offering hope that plaque-clearing treatments could benefit patients with the disease, Washington University researchers said Thursday.

Results of the study will appear in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

No one knows for sure if the sticky plaque -- amyloid beta peptide -- is the true cause of Alzheimer's, a brain degeneration disease that eventually robs victims of memory and the ability to communicate and care for themselves. About 4.5 million Americans have the disease.

But the plaque is a prime suspect, and several companies are developing drugs to target the buildup.

Researchers at Washington University injected mice with an antibody that cleared plaque in parts of the brain. Where the plaque was cleared, swelling on nerve cell branches disappeared quickly, the researchers said. They cautioned that while encouraging, more studies are needed to determine if similar effects might occur in people.

Removing the plaque "often led to rapid recovery of normal structure over a few days," said Dave Holtzman, senior author of the study and head of the Department of Neurology at Washington University.

He said that confirmed benefits of plaque-clearing treatments and "also gets us rethinking our theories on how plaques cause nerve cell damage..."

If this is as effective in humans as it's been in mice, our grandchildren might never know firsthand the pain of watching a loved one slowly slip away from this. And we can look forward to enjoying their company all the more as hope burns bright for our having a full and active life with them.

To quote Jasper when he came out of Apu's freezer on that episode of The Simpsons: "Hmmmm, Moon Pie! What a time to be alive!" :-)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dont you think you're being a little over the top?

ducking and running

Chris Knight said...

Either one of these two breakthroughs have been sought for decades. A neurologist told me once that although they knew what caused Alzheimer's, the best that many in the field felt realistic about achieving was slowing down the condition and whatever could be done to prevent it at all. But outright curing it? And *repairing* the damage already done to the brain's tissues? "It's too much like nanotech" he said.

I really hope and pray that both of these bear some fruit. Either would be the biggest development in medical history since the Salk polio vaccine.

Chris Knight said...

If it came across as a little overly-exuberant, well...

In the past five years, I've lost ten *very* close friends and relatives to cancer. In the span of six months two uncles - who had never smoked once in their lives - succumbed to lung cancer. Three cases were brain cancer.

In the same period, three others I've known died from complications relating to Alzheimer's. Another is in the early stages of it now.

If I can live the rest of my life knowing that NOBODY can get hit by things like that and not have a fighting chance to beat them, I'll die happy.