Why I’m So Excited About This New (Potential) Alzheimer’s Cure


Maybe. Look, there’s a very mild development on the Alzheimer’s front, which, in spite of being very minor, I’m very happy about.

According to USA Today:

Researchers announced Monday that an experimental Alzheimer’s therapy has shown it slows the progression of the disease in people with mild cases, bringing them a “step closer” to finding the first treatment and to understanding a cause of the complex disease.

Academic researchers discussed the results of large studies on solanezumab, funded by Eli Lilly, and bapineuzumab, funded by Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer, at the American Neurological Association’s 2012 Annual Meeting. The aim of both therapies is to remove beta amyloid from the brain. The sticky protein has long been thought to be a toxic substance that affects functioning of the brain — similar to how high cholesterol levels damage the heart…

Until now, researchers have only been able to theorize about the mechanisms of the disease. Research is also being conducted on other possible causes, including inflammation and tau, tangles of proteins thought to disrupt communication among neurons’ pathways.

“We are encouraged by the results,” said Maria Carrillo, vice president of medical and scientific relations for the Alzheimer’s Association, an advocacy group. “It’s not the home run we wanted to see but this is the first time we’ve seen a slowing of cognitive decline.”

Ashley has already suggested that I begin taking this medication as a stunt piece.


I know about this because I google “Alzheimer’s cure” approximately every three days. That’s mostly because my family has feeble little brains. I find that periodically I do absent-minded professor things like forgetting to put my shoes back on after I’ve run them through the metal detector in the airport, and I always feel relieved that I am still in my 20′s, because I know 40 years from now that would be the kind of thing that would keep me awake at night.

Really, I would take any disease – any! – over Alzheimer’s. Not just cancer, which I think I would be able to fight. It’s obvious to pick cancer over Alzheimer’s. I would take Ebola. Lou Gehrig’s. Anything. My principal enjoyments are largely the things that Alzheimer’s deprives you of the ability to do first, namely, reading, and writing (not ‘rithmatic, admittedly.) One of the saddest pieces I read about a man developing Alzheimer’s was that he kept the TV on in the background, but he couldn’t follow plots, so it was really just like watching scenery from a train.

I fucking love plots. I love stories.

I hate watching scenery on trains. I always bring a book. My nightmare is being trapped on a flight – or, I suppose, a long train trip – without a book. I have always thought I could handle Lou Gehrig’s disease with some modicum of dignity provided someone made sure AMC was on.

Mad Men re-runs will still be on, right?

And that is simply the part of Alzheimer’s where you’re bored. That is not the part where you are frightened.

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    • http://twitter.com/enbrown Elizabeth

      Right now, the best “alzheimer’s cure” is nutrition and other lifestyle things. The drug trials have been reliably and increasingly failing, including those that remove amyloid from the brain …

    • Lauren

      I totally agree with you. Alzheimer’s runs in my family too and it terrifies my most for my dad to get it more than anything. He’s getting older now and little things he is forgetting, things that are ridiculously minor, are starting to scare me.

    • Lo

      Hi there, fearbuddy. Alzheimer’s is #2 on my list (below actual death and above motor neurone disease). I love stories too — fiction is the only thing that has kept me sane every year since I learnt to read. I can’t afford to lose the me that nobody knows about. Fuck the cuddly placid advertising. Fuck it right in its smiling face. This disease is ugly and horrifying and the more resources we throw at it, the better.