One more piece of the dementia puzzle

puzzle pieceMy youngest son alerted me to the following article, and although the experts at ADI Taiwan said they don’t believe a cure is anywhere in sight, it might be one more piece in the puzzle towards finding a cure. As with any mountain we climb, the only way to the top is one step at a time, and each time I read something like this, I feel heartened we are a step closer to a cure for at least one of the 100 dementias, Alzheimer’s disease. The research I am more keen to read is for the non pharmacological and positive psychosocial interventions for dementia, which might not provide a cure either, but will greatly improve our quality of life.

Molecular Trigger for Alzheimer’s Disease Identified

Published in ScienceDaily on May 20, 2013

Researchers have pinpointed a catalytic trigger for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease – when the fundamental structure of a protein molecule changes to cause a chain reaction that leads to the death of neurons in the brain.

For the first time, scientists at Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry have been able to map in detail the pathway that generates “aberrant” forms of proteins which are at the root of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s.

They believe the breakthrough is a vital step closer to increased capabilities for earlier diagnosis of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and opens up possibilities for a new generation of targeted drugs, as scientists say they have uncovered the earliest stages of the development of Alzheimer’s that drugs could possibly target.

The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a milestone in the long-term research established in Cambridge by Professor Christopher Dobson and his colleagues, following the realisation by Dobson of the underlying nature of protein ‘misfolding’ and its connection with disease over 15 years ago.

The research is likely to have a central role to play in diagnostic and drug development for dementia-related diseases, which are increasingly prevalent and damaging as populations live longer.

“There are no disease modifying therapies for Alzheimer’s and dementia at the moment, only limited treatment for symptoms. We have to solve what happens at the molecular level before we can progress and have real impact,” said Dr Tuomas Knowles, lead author of the study and long-time collaborator of Professor Dobson.

“We’ve now established the pathway that shows how the toxic species that cause cell death, the oligomers, are formed. This is the key pathway to detect, target and intervene – the molecular catalyst that underlies the pathology.”

Read the full article…

6 thoughts on “One more piece of the dementia puzzle

  1. Keeping my fingers crossed Kate but as we know all too well, the cure will only come when the dark ones are erased and pharmacuetical companies and doctors no longer run the world and control all outcomes. We must keep plugging away at banishing them and bringing about the new world. We’re getting there. If somebody with good intentions were able to work with this latest finding life would change quickly for PWD…So very frustrating! Keep the faith. We are almost there. Blessings and love….VK

    • I must say, I spend NO time even thinking about a drug cure, but add articles about research here for others. My energy is on more holistic ways to manage my health. Of course, the research into non pharmacological interventions for dementia or any other disease gets so little funding, because there is no money in it for drug companies!! Thanks for your support my friend… with love and hope.

  2. Kate, i’ve been following it in the newspaper because I have chronic pain that’s untreated (although i’ve going to a different pain clinic next year ……. long waiting time)

    But I’ve read it’s only for people who are dying or for AIDS patients. One thing I wanted to follow-up on (which I haven’t) is how AIDS patients can get it when others can’t …….. because if they’ve got AIDS and they’re dyign then they come under the realm of “dying” ….. if they’re an AIDS patient then they’re alive and just got AIDS …….. so why do THEY get access potential access to cannabis when others can’t? Know what I mean?

    Anyway ……. I just found the article that I wanted to follow up ….. maybe I will, maybe I won’t ……. not a priority for me given my bad bad energy lately…….

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/cannabis-treatment-for-pain-wins-mps-approval-20130515-2jlur.html

    ?A NSW parliamentary committee has recommended the medical use of cannabis for people with terminal illness and AIDS.

    If adopted by the government, the measure will allow patients to use up to 15 grams of dry cannabis or its equivalent in cannabis products.”

    • Thanks for the link my friend… chronic pain, on top of dementia is a tough gig 😦 Have you thought of seeing Professor Michael Cousins for pain – I think he is at Prince of Wales Hospital??? Not sure about the cannabis pathway, I have a friend in Sydney who has used it (obviously illegally) for severe pain, but has become so addicted he needs more and more… take care… sending love and hugs

    • I have, but think taking a mind altering drug might just make dementia worse. I’ve been told about it for chronic pain too, and am actually considering it for that as it can be ‘taken’ in a very controlled way.

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