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Medicine Science

Alzheimer's Transmission Pathway Discovered 154

Posted by timothy
from the when-it's-all-greek-to-you dept.
smitty777 writes "Two separate studies by the Taub Institute and Harvard have discovered the pathway used by Alzheimer's Disease to spread through the brain. The studies indicate it's not a virus, but a distorted protein called Tau which moves from cell to cell. Further, the discovery 'may now offer scientists a way to move forward and develop a way to block tau's spread in Alzheimer's patients, said Karen Duff, a researcher at Columbia's Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's disease and co-author of one study published Wednesday in the journal PLoS One. "It's enlightening for us because it now provides a whole other area for potential therapeutic impact," said Duff. "It's possible that you can identify the disease and intervene (with potential tau-blocking drugs) before the dementia actually sets in."'"
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Alzheimer's Transmission Pathway Discovered

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:06PM (#38915789)
    It was done at a University by students who probably weren't paid. It wasn't done by a pharmaceutical lab. Remember that when the drug companies try to justify charging your parents $2000 for a one month supply of Alzheimer medication.

    They spend more on advertising then R&D.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by quark101 (865412) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:07PM (#38915807)
    Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, not just for the person who has it, but especially so for those who are close to the afflicted. The slow, degenerative, wasting of the mind is horrifying to watch, as the person that was once bright and lively gets turned into a shell of their former self. Not able to grasp what's going on around them, or who they're talking to, the person can easily become terrified, lost, and confused, made all the more painful by the fact that they don't know who their children are or why they're here.

    I know that identifying the underlying cause and developing a treatment are often worlds apart, but I'm glad nonetheless to see this advancement, if merely for the fact that one day others won't have to experience the pain I did as I watched people I love succumb to Alzheimer's.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:12PM (#38915869) Homepage
    I don't have anything insightful to add, but I feel compelled to say fuck you, cancer and double fuck you, Alzheimer's. Thank you for your attention.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:16PM (#38915937)

    Yeah, tell that to Steve Jobs.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:21PM (#38916039)

    While I agree that the pharmaceutical businesses is a complete disaster area in terms of cures-per-dollar, you can't point at one publicly funded study and use it as evidence of that fact. It's spectacularly irrational.

  • Re:Awesome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:32PM (#38916167)

    I don't have anything insightful to add, but I feel compelled to say fuck you, cancer and double fuck you, Alzheimer's. Thank you for your attention.

    Heh...yeah. Every single person in my family for the past 3 generations, with only two exceptions, both maternal and paternal has died in their early 70's or before from cancer. The exceptions: one of my cousins committed suicide, and one of my grandfathers survived into his 80's only to succumb to Alzheimer's. I got to watch a truly brilliant man, who I've always considered far more intelligent than I, become unable to understand the most simple concepts, followed by slowly becoming more and more unresponsive. Eventually, he wouldn't react at all to anybody visiting him, he would just sit there in his chair, or lie in a bed, or wherever it was that anyone led him to be. I can't think of a worst way to go.

    My parents are still alive, but my father has already been diagnosed with prostate cancer (he's in his early 60's), and my mother pretty much refuses to go to the doctor for anything, because she figures it's only a matter of time before they find something, and she'd rather not know about it since she has already decided she would refuse to go through chemo anyway.

    In other words, my genes suck, and as a result I feel strongly compelled to join you. Fuck Cancer and Fuck Alzheimer's..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:34PM (#38916213)

    While I agree that the pharmaceutical businesses is a complete disaster area in terms of cures-per-dollar, you can't point at one publicly funded study and use it as evidence of that fact. It's spectacularly irrational.

    Uh, yes you can. Not on its own, but in conjunction with a larger body of studies that all demonstrate this point. It's not a smoking gun, it's just part of a larger body of evidence. But go ahead and call it "spectacularly" irrational if you want, I guess.

  • by crmarvin42 (652893) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:35PM (#38916219)
    That was his own fault. He decided to try homeopathic voodoo instead of sound, scientifically-validated methods to treat his cancer initially. That resulted in an early diagnosis (with high probablity of complete remission) turning into a late treatment (with far less favorable odds). The key with most agressive cancers is early diagnosis AND early treatment.

    Cases like this are where homeopathy changes from being mostly harmless, and therefore not worthy of much attention, and become outright dangerous.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:44PM (#38916359)
    We shouldn't trust pharmaceuticals, that's for sure. Between the questionably ethical testing in 3rd world countries, the highway robbery, the lobbying to the medical industry to push fairly worthless products, and, oh yeah, their old-fashioned bribery (I mean lobbying) of elected officials to keep their racket going, they are evil. I got laid off from Pfizer two days after Christmas years ago, so I'm not on their side.

    Still, I have to point out that basic biological research is a different beast from true medical research. Clinical trials in people are generally very expensive compared to basic research. They take much longer too. Mass producing drugs is not cheap to begin with, and the standards have to be very high for pharmecuticals. 70% purity of a drug you're going to inject into rats to test the effect for basic research like this is acceptable often, but that's hideously impure for something you're going to be putting into people.

    The biggest disadvantage pharmecuticals have is liability. No one sues you if one of your lab rats or plates of cells die, this is not the case if someone taking your medicine dies. You need to hire an army of lawyers.

    They do have huge costs, and the risks are much higher. Again, they should be scrutinized, but I don't think it's fair to imply that just because a university lab has a result on Alzheimers means that drugs should be cheap.
  • Re:Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Friday February 03, 2012 @12:48PM (#38916443) Homepage

    I don't mean to pry, but why on Earth would your mother refuse chemo? These days most cancers (not all, by any means, but most) are extremely treatable and survivable if caught early. It's unpleasant for a few months, but with a few exception you'll mostly always survive and be fine. It's not like it was 30 years ago where you were looking at 50-50 odds at best and the treatment was worse than the disease. I personally know literally half a dozen cancer survivors just among my family and people that I am close enough to to know their medical history. Most are as fit and active as ever now.

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