Tag Archives | Alzheimer’s

Study Says Cannabis May Help Reverse Dementia From Alzheimer’s

Toke up for the sake of your brain? The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

A team from Neuroscience Research Australia is in the early stages of research examining if one of the main active ingredients in cannabis, called cannabidiol, could reverse some of the symptoms of memory loss in animals.

Tim Karl, a senior research fellow with the group, said cannabidiol has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and other effects that could be beneficial for the brain.

His study involved injecting cannabidiol into mice that had symptoms similiar to those seen in Alzheimer’s, as well as examining what would happen to brain cells treated with the drug. Dr Karl found that when the mice were given the cannabidiol they showed drastic improvement on parts of the tests that were related to recognising and remembering objects and other mice: “You could say it cured them.”

There had been case reports in medical literature of marijuana smokers who had developed Alzheimer’s disease, only to find their smoking seemed to relieve some of their symptoms.

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Space Travel Can Cause Alzheimer’s, Study Warns

A hidden danger of attempting to establish a colony on another planet — many of the pioneering colonizers could be feeble-minded or demented upon arrival. Via Space Daily:

Long journeys into deep space, including a mission to Mars, could expose astronauts to levels of cosmic radiation harmful to the brain and accelerate Alzheimer’s disease, said US research Monday.

The NASA-funded study involved bombarding mice with radiation doses comparable to what voyagers would experience during a mission to Mars, and seeing how the animals managed to recall objects or locations.

Mice that were exposed to radiation were far more likely to fail those tasks — suggesting neurological impairment earlier than such symptoms typically appear. The brains of the mice also showed signs of vascular alterations and a greater than normal accumulation of beta amyloid, the protein “plaque” that is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

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Old Drinkers Protected Against Dementia

POTBut you have to reach 75, life is not fair. Richard Alleyne writes in the Telegraph:
Scientists found pensioners aged 75 or over who like a daily pint or glass of wine are helping to stave off senility. Those who drink alcohol are 30 per cent less likely to develop dementia and 40 per cent less likely to suffer Alzheimer's than those who were teetotal, according to the research. A study of more than 3,200 German people aged 75 or over attending GPs, who were free of dementia, were studied and checked 18 months and three years later. Associations between alcohol consumption, type of alcohol – wine, beer, mixed alcohol beverages – and incident dementia were examined. "People should be aware that we are talking about mild/moderate consumption of alcohol," said Professor Siegfried Weyerer from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany.
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Vitamin B Supplement Can Revolutionize Treatment Of Brain Disease

Photo: Ragesoss (CC)

Photo: Ragesoss (CC)

Vitamin B tablets could slow and even halt the devastating march of Alzheimer’s Disease in the elderly, according to a breakthrough British study reported in the Telegraph:

The research showed that large doses of the supplement could halve the rate of brain shrinkage – a physical symptom associated memory loss and dementia in the elderly.

The effects were so dramatic that the scientists behind the work believe it could revolutionise the treatment of the disease.

Brain shrinkage or atrophy is a natural part of ageing but it is known to be accelerated in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – a kind of memory loss and forgetfulness – and Alzheimer’s. Scientists at the University of Oxford conducted a trial on 168 people and found that taking high doses of three vitamin B supplements every day reduced brain shrinkage associated with dementia by up to 53 per cent.

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A Drug Discovered In The Soil Of Easter Island Could Cure Alzheimer’s

Easter IslandAnnalee Newitz writes on io9.com:

Rapamycin is a bacterial byproduct discovered in the soil of Easter Island. It extends the lives of animals, and now two independent studies show that it can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Is this the drug we’ve been waiting for?

A study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry confirmed that mice with Altzheimers showed marked improvement in memory and cognition after being fed a rapamycin-enhanced diet. This study was released simultaneously with another, in PLoS One, which confirmed the results of the first in a different group of mice.

How does this wonder drug work? Physiologist Veronica Galvan, an author on the PLoS study, explained:

Rapamycin treatment lowered levels of amyloid-beta-42, a major toxic species of molecules in Alzheimer’s disease. These molecules, which stick to each other, are suspected to play a key role in the early memory failure of Alzheimer’s … The fact that we are seeing identical results in two vastly different mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease provides robust evidence that rapamycin treatment is effective and is acting by changing a basic pathogenic process of Alzheimer’s that is common to both mouse models.

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Alzheimer’s May Stave Off Cancer, and Vice Versa

Amanda Gardner reports in Business Week:

Researchers have uncovered a bittersweet relationship between two major illnesses: cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

People who have had cancer are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease, just as having Alzheimer’s disease reduces the risk for cancer, their study found.

“Alzheimer’s was associated with a rather dramatic reduction in cancer risk,” said Dr. Richard Lipton, an attending neurologist at Montefiore Medical Center and professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “From my perspective, the strengths of the findings are very striking and somewhat unexpected.”

There was no link between Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, however, suggesting that the association has to do with neurodegenerative factors. Vascular dementia is attributed to damage to the brain’s blood supply…

[continues in Business Week]

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Vaccines For AIDS, Alzheimer’s, Herpes

The AP reports (question: why is it that vaccines are suddenly front page news every day?):

Malaria. Tuberculosis. Alzheimer’s disease. AIDS. Pandemic flu. Genital herpes. Urinary tract infections. Grass allergies. Traveler’s diarrhea. You name it, the pharmaceutical industry is working on a vaccine to prevent it.

Many could be on the market in five years or less.

Contrast that with five years ago, when so many companies had abandoned the vaccine business that half the U.S. supply of flu shots was lost because of factory contamination at one of the two manufacturers left.

Vaccines are no longer a sleepy, low-profit niche in a booming drug industry. Today, they’re starting to give ailing pharmaceutical makers a shot in the arm.

The lure of big profits, advances in technology and growing government support has been drawing in new companies, from nascent biotechs to Johnson & Johnson. That means recent remarkable strides in overcoming dreaded diseases and annoying afflictions likely will continue…

[more at AP]

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