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Scientists Find New Target For Alzhiemer's 107

Posted by kdawson
from the good-news-i-forget-why dept.
GarryFre writes "Neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found a new therapeutic target that can potentially lead to a new way to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The target called neutral sphingomyelinase (N-SMase) is a protein which, when activated, can cause a chain of reactions in the cell leading to neuronal death and memory loss. Already a substance has been found that shows some promise in halting the progression of the disease."
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Scientists Find New Target For Alzhiemer's

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  • Hope for Pratchett? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sparkycat (1703438) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:10AM (#33675834) Homepage

    It seems like Alzheimer's research is progressing surprisingly rapidly. I wonder if treatments will come soon enough to save the minds of people already in the early stages? Terry Pratchett in particular springs to mind.

  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:26AM (#33676034)

    Regularly super-sizing your McD meals can help prevent Alzheimer's. Heck it even reduces your chances of getting cancer.

    I'm being serious. Maybe one could use a nicotine patch instead. Here's another study: Beneficial effects of nicotine [wiley.com]

    From the abstract:

    "When chronically taken, nicotine may result in: (1) positive reinforcement, (2) negative reinforcement, (3) reduction of body weight, (4) enhancement of performance, and protection against: (5) Parkinson's disease (6) Tourette's disease (7) Alzheimers disease, (8) ulcerative colitis and (9) sleep apnea. The reliability of these effects varies greatly but justifies the search for more therapeutic applications for this interesting compound.

  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:03PM (#33679510) Journal
    In addition to trying to deal with someone who doesn't remember you, there can be major inter-family problem because at least some Alzheimers patients can no longer tell what happened from what they think happened, so you run into situations where the person says "why doesn't my son ever come visit me?" when the son in question is sitting in the room, and other family members, not realizing that the person is flat-out wrong, start resenting one another based on the testimony of, well, a crazy person.

    And then the patient starts saying the nursing staff is abusive, and that the doctor hurts her when he checks her out -- and who do you believe? because while you know your grandmother is now basically totally unreliable, you also know that the staff knows that too and if they *were* abusive, who would know? and so you run into situations where some family members are trying to keep the patient happy and others are saying the patient needs to be moved to another facility, and others are so upset about the whole situation that they've stopped even visiting...

    When my grandmother finally died, the sense of relief was palpable, and several years later, most all her relatives are friendly to one another again, and that was with a good nursing home, everyone living locally and visiting every week, and all of us talking regularly about the problems with each other to try to keep exactly this from happening.

  • by godel_56 (1287256) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @03:17PM (#33679708)

    My Grandmother passed away this past December but had Alzheimer's for many years, progressively getting worse over time. In addition to what you list, I'd like to add that it has a large impact on those that care about the person. As my Grandmother's Alzheimer's state worsened, my mother and uncle (her only surviving children) became very frustrated in trying to care for her. Caring for someone that doesn't even know you is rough. Trying to hold a conversation, only to repeat it, knowing that it won't be remembered, is frustrating. You essentially care for the body of someone who "died" already. Mij

    I think Alzheimer's sufferers should consider euthanizing while they still have the capacity to make a rational decision. I would, under those circumstances, even if only to save the family and society from the burden of looking after a "living dead" person.

    BTW, for a possible cheap method of prevention, consider turmeric/curcumin.

    From http://www.bri.ucla.edu/bri_weekly/news_060206.asp [ucla.edu]

    "Turmeric is also being studied for its ability to help treat Alzheimer's disease. The prevalence of Alzheimer's among adults in India aged 70 to 79 is among the world's lowest. It is 4.4 times less than the rate in the United States. A 2004 study with mice published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry suggested that curcumin might be of help for Alzheimer's patients. The study, conducted by UCLA and Veterans Affairs scientists, showed that a rodent chow laced with curcumin slowed the accumulation in mouse brains of protein fragments known as beta amyloids. They are considered key to the development of Alzheimer's. Curcumin did this more powerfully than many other drugs being tested as Alzheimer's treatments, said Cole, the study's principal investigator. "

    By far the cheapest form of turmeric is as bulk powder from Asian spice shops, but getting extracts in capsule form from a vitamin company would be much easier to take.

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