Thursday, July 31, 2008

185 drug to HALT Alzheimer's may be available by 2012

Way too late to help my dad, and the parents and loved ones of those currently suffering. But it will help the next generation. (Emphasis mine.)
Daily pill that halts Alzheimer's is hailed as 'biggest breakthrough against disease for 100 years'
A daily capsule of rember, as the drug is known, stops Alzheimer’s disease progressing by as much as 81 per cent, according to trial results. Patients with the brain disorder had no significant decline in their mental function over a 19-month period....
It is the first time medication has been developed to target the ‘tangles’ in the brain that destroy nerve cells, leading to deteriorating memory.
The drug helps to disrupt this process, preventing the formation of new tangles and loosening those already created.
...Eventually the drug could be used to stop the disease in its early stages before symptoms have even appeared, it is hoped....The drug works by dissolving the tangle of tau fibres which releases waste products that kill nerve cells, and by preventing the fibres from becoming tangled.....The trial was a Phase 2 study, which checks the safety and efficacy of the drug, but if a large-scale Phase 3 trial due next year repeats the findings, the drug could be available for prescribing by 2012. At the same time, the research team is investigating a way of diagnosing Alzheimer’s at its earliest stages when tau tangles are first being formed in the brain.
People may have these tangles in their 50s, long before symptoms develop, and the researchers hope the drug could be used as a preventive treatment.
I'm not even sure what I could say to comment on this. I hope it's true. By 2012 I'll be well on my way to being 50 and my dad was diagnosed at 62--meaning he probably had his tangles way before that. I honestly believe he had the beginning stages of AD when he was around 55--would that be tangles in his 40's?
I hate living in fear.
And of course, the article was about Great Britain's availability. Are they even looking at approval for the US yet? I'll have to look into it more.

Monday, July 21, 2008

184 playing "what if"

I had lunch with a friend yesterday. Her grandfather just got diagnosed with non-specific dementia. He’s in a psych ward at a nursing home now. He was diagnosed while in the hospital for heart surgery.
So we got to talking about dementia and things related to it. I told her if I had to go back in time, I’d tell my mother NOT to allow my father to undergo the heart surgery he had in September 2006. So many bad things can be traced back to that procedure. It’s the first time he was abused in a hospital setting (tied up). It made him ever more paranoid about going places, always full of fear he’d be brought back to that hospital. And of course, the blood thinners he was put on caused his brain bleed to be out of control. The out of control brain bleed put him in that semi-coma, so he was catheterized, and got a UTI, which got MRSA in it, which killed him.
Too simplistic, I realize, but there is a direct connection.
Of course, if he was still alive, would he still be home? Or would my mom be forcing herself into penury so the government would pick up the tab? Or would he have had a heart attack and died?
Which takes me to my next scenario. If he had died having that heart attack while mowing the lawn 2 years ago, he never would have beaten up my mom. Never would have gotten MRSA and suffered for weeks. I would not have to have told the doctors to change his medications so that he would hurry up and die and not suffer anymore. I would not have that on my conscience.
Of course, if that had happened, and no crystal ball had told me what my dad’s future would have been, I’d be ranting that he was still healthy and able to communicate and we should have had years more with him. And it totally would have sucked for me if my cat and dad died the same weekend.
But I guess these sorts of musings tell you that you never know what the future holds, and as bad as present may seem, the future could be a lot worse if this didn’t happen.