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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just reading today about a study which has finally been published this week. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with Alzheimer's. Its dementia with a twist - rather than just aging neurons and fading memory, Alzheimer patients deal with violence, hallucinations, motor skill problems, and finally death. The brain of an Alzheimer patient, unlike that of a person with simple dementia, is being overrun by small, tarry, plaque-like growths called amyloid plaques or proteins. Amyloid is a naturally occuring protein in the body. In this case, I beleive it is beta-amyloid which is deposited in the brain. Normally, it circulates and is carried out of our systems, never making a pitstop in our neurons. In the Alzheimer patients, it gathers over a period of about 10 years. Scientists have done everything to figure out how to remove them. A rather brutal method involved shunting the skulls of people with Alzheimer's and filling their heads with fresh spinal fluid. The thought was that, like changing the oil, it might cut down on amyloid plaque buildup. Nope. Then there was the Alzheimer vaccine. Inject a virus with amyloid protein, give the vaccination to a patient, and watch their immune system destroy all the amyloid proteins in their bodies. Nice idea, but it occurs naturally, and the patient's immune systems attacked their brains as well. Until now, the only accepted method for treating Alzheimers was giving patients acytelcholine reuptake inhibitors like Aricept. It prolongs their abilties, but it doesnt do a thing for the disease process.

In 1992, a young scientist proposed the idea that amyloid plaques might be gathering around some other substance already deposited in an Alzheimer patient's brain. His idea was that simple minerals/heavy metals in the body were not being excreted properly. He thought the culprits were zinc and copper. Unfortunately, his idea was hot on the heels of the excess aluminum theory which had burnt a couple of researchers, and he was pooh-poohed and ridiculed to death by the medical community. Pharmaceutical companies continued pouring billions of dollars into complex pills and vaccines. He continued doing research on his own, and won a grant from the NIH. His idea was that if he gave rats with beta-amyloid deposits an old antibiotic which leeches copper and zinc from their systems, it might reverse their condition. He tried it, and in his own words, it was "like drano for the brain". The rat's brains were like young brains again.

The drug used is Clioquinol. It is an old antibiotic developed by a Swiss pharmaceutical compnay in the 1930s to combat amoebic dysentery- a killer in the third world. It was outlawed in the 1970s becuase it caused blindness and paralysis in a Japanese fishing village being treated. The next step was to test the drug on was thought that the cause of the Japanese snafu had been the fact that it also leeches out vitamin B12. So last year, the human trials began. And along with Clioquinol, the patients were also given vitamin B12. The results were published this week, and they are astounding. People with Alzheimer's actually improved, and by something like 10 percent, I beleive. They didnt just hold steady for six months, as with Aricept - they regained cognition. More clinical trials are to follow, and I expect they will start working on other ways to remove zinc and copper. Everything the pharmaceutical giants could not do, this man did with a 70 year old antibiotic and a grant from the NIH for 750,000 dollars. Thats cheap in the world of research. This is the real deal. I expected Alzheimer's to be cured in my lifetime, but not in this decade. Its one of the last non-preventable diseases. We didnt know what caused it, couldnt guess who would get it or treat them when they did. This will save thousands upon thousands of people from slowly fading away and losing their minds. It will save their families agony. If they can do this, imagine what awaits in the mental health field?

Homeskooled 8)

PS- I'm not sure if it is in the final phases of testing or not. I remember reading about it in 2003, but I hadnt heard anything new until this week.

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Interesting stuff Homeskooled. I used to work for Amgen, the second largest pharmacutecal (the same company that 'nearly' developed the anti-obesity wonder drug - Leptin), and I believe what you are talking about is in stage 3 of clinical trials, from what my friends say. The FDA require 4 cycles of clinical trials with a threshold of <150 adverse events per 1000, in a double bind trial. In the event that it passes clinical trial, expect it to be out about 12 months later.

This is just incredible. And Homeskooled, you did a fantastic job of summarizing/explaining this. Wow, indeed.

The return of cognition - that's incredible. Is the gist of it that once the amlyoid placques are forced out, the neurons actually regrow? or that the plaques were somehow "blocking" the neurons' firing potential while they were there?

I am fascinated by this post. THANK you.

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This is like Wilson's disease ... the body unable to cleanse itself of copper?

And that causes psychotic symptoms.

I agree, I have to have faith that understanding of these illnesses will come, maybe not in my lifetime, but soon thereafter.

As always, I wish my parents, both doctors, could have been around to see the changes in medicine. My mother in particular, the advances in neuroscience.

Also, Janine, you mentioned those London cabbies whose brains are enlarged in certain areas involving geographical orientation or something. I recall reading about that.

I absolutely agree that there is tremendous plasticity in the brain, and Home you explained about how regeneration is occurring all the time in the body.

My mother, fearing Alzheimer's most of her life, did everything she could w/her brain to keep it healthy, to no avail. But everything she did kept her healthy overall, and I think extended her ability to remain alive so long w/Alzheimer's. She did puzzles, she played the piano, she read difficult books, etc.

There was something I wanted to say about brain plasticity.... oh HELL... my brain, LOL.

Oh, it seems COGNITIVE and PHYSICAL abilities respond most to this? Such as learning a route as a cabbie, or with a stroke patient, learning how to move a limb again, etc. I do believe that talk therapy can also change brain function -- as our environment itself helps us develop as infants.

Just wondering if EMOTIONAL abilities respond as well to cognitive therapy. I find I HAVE responded amazingly well with my DBT. Though it's still work.

I have no idea what I'm talking about.
Long day,
Did I make a whit of sense.
Yes, this is good news.
D 8) :?

Thanks so much homeskooled.
I'm always particularly interested in hearing about the latest on Alzheimers as several female members of my family have developed it.

Naturally I'm very concerned for myself as I have poor short term memory.
One problem is having CFS,one of the main symptoms is memory probs along with brain fog.

I've read that the early stages of Alzheimers start sway before we have obvious symptoms and before the evidence will show up in a brain scan.
They assume many of us already have it in our 40's.
I have also read that that we would all end up with Alzheimers if we lived long enough.

I knew that aluminium was no longer considerd the culprit.I had heard about the zinc/copper theory.
I also knew there was a vit B12 connection.Having B12 injections was adviced to me by a family pharmacist.

I hope that Clioquinol turns out to be the magic bullet.

Another occasion when an older style drug is put to use in the most unsuspecting manner.
Another occasion when a dedicated scientist kept plugging away despite the lack of support.
No doubt you have heard of Aussie Dr Barry Marshall who discovered the cause of peptic ulcers to be helicobacter.
He was so convinced that he gave himself an ulcer to prove it and by taking an antibiotic cured himself.

Cheers Shelly

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks guys, I am very glad that you all enjoyed it. I especially wanted Dreamer to hear about it. These kinds of studies brighten my days. To be honest, this sort of thing has been weighing on my mind of late. For the past two years, my body has been freezing cold, I have had constant headaches, and a feeling like I am going to jump out of my skin. I tend to pace alot and think about, well, nothing in particular. It is hard for me to keep a train of thought in my head. My doctors and I have run the gamut of things, and all that we've really turned up is that my body is not breaking down its hemoglobin correctly. The nasty, poisonous by-products (porphyrins) are accumlating in my body, and also in my brain. Anyways, I had had a raised pressure in my skull last year, and they've done about 7 MRIs on me. The most recent one showed an enlargement of the ventricles as compared to one done about 2 years ago. This is found in a lot of organic brain syndromes, as well as endocrine ones, and porphyria.They are larger, but still within normal limits. I need the doctors to hurry up in diagnosis and treatment. If I am losing tissue, I cant count on being able to regain it. I cant count on my family helping me out if my confusion gets worse . I'm stuck on my own. I saw the psychiatrist in regards to my porphyria related confusion, and he wanted to start me on ADD meds. 2 years ago, my diagnosis was OCD. The two are not always diametrically opposed, but they are very, very different kinds of diseases. There's something fishy going on. And I dont know what it is, and my doctors dont know how to treat it, or dont beleive what I tell them. Everyone is dragging their heels because things are so inconclusive. To get to the point, I'm sort of afraid that I am going to eventually lose my ability to "keep it together" or remain focused and coherent. The general feeling of restlessness, for no apparent reason, that I have had today has made me want to go to the local psychiatric hospital for the weekend. I have never felt this agitated or out of it before. I am trying to see the county health commissioner tommorrow. He has my MRIs as well as my porphyria labs, and is the closest thing to a porphyria expert in the area. If he doesnt get back to me tommorrow, or pooh-poohs the case, I dont have many options left. I'm not actually sure I can make it through the night. If anyone has any advice, I'd be willing to take it. If anyone could send me some prayers and good thoughts, I'm sure it would help. Thanks and

PS- I hope that you all dont mind the duplication, but I am going to put the main body of this post in the main forum as well.

So sorry to hear this homeskooled.You sound just terrible.

I'm afraid I don't have any information that might help re porphyria.
On the other hand I will say a prayer for you.

By the way which type of porphria do you have?How did you get it diagnosed?was it blood tests,urine,stool etc?or did your doctors rely on the MRI results?

I don't know anything about this disorder.I read a little on the net and it keeps mentioning photosensitivity?

What makes you think that your downward progression will be rapid?I certainly hope that's not the case.

Wishing you all the best, Shelly
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