One of several medical mysteries bogging the minds of scientists for ages is the crippling power of Alzheimer’s disease. Defined in Chamber’s 21st Century Dictionary as “an incurable disease, usually occurring in middle age or later, in which degeneration of the brain cells results in gradual loss in memory, confusion, etc. eventually leading to total disintegration of the personality; named after the German neurologist Alois Alzheimer (1865-1915) who first identified it”.
Never a fan of the term “incurable disease”, the scientific community is hoping to change the definition of Alzheimer’s disease by finding a its cure by 2025 thanks to the big chunk of funding announced by President Obama towards Alzheimer’s research. The heat is on, as several researchers have tried, and apparently not without success to find a cure for the previously dreaded disease. The race to find a cure started a few years ago, when NIH scientists announced “Reversal of Alzheimer’s symptoms within minutes in human studies” in their article in Science Daily article published in 2008.
A few months ago, a news item on the beneficial effects of coconut oil appeared, with some indications of miraculous healing or improvement of simple brain activities, as a result of consuming pure saturated coconut oil every day. They further displayed documents or testimonials received for several other indications of coconut-oil-based cure for Alzheimer’s. Then came the vitamin group of cures: Vitamin B, Vitamins C or E ,which have shown promises (emphasized through a lot of scientific reasoning and research) in reversing the symptoms. A group of UK-Canada researchers claim to have found a vaccine that brings relief in days. The image on the left gives us an idea of how the disease cripples the brain, Apparently. The vaccine developed by these researchers prevents or even erodes the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid, which is known to form plaque on brain cells, that causes Alzheimer’s disease. The group’s latest research, reported in Nature, suggested that the drug restores some of the mental faculties, in addition to removing the plaque-building protein.
And finally, the linguists, who did not want to be left behind, claim that learning several languages (actually, they emphasized on the term ‘bilingual’) can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by a few years. I am not sure if this was intended to be an attack on unilinguals, but one of my aunts was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s pretty early on, and she is trilingual. Maybe if we can cause her to forget one language and make her officially ‘bilingual’, her condition could improve.
The results of each of the above tested and proved treatment plans seem pretty promising, which is very encouraging to the relatives of Alzheimer’s patients. But looking at the big picture, one begins to wonder what is the validity of the variety of treatment possibilities? If just about anything can cure Alzheimer’s disease, then why have we been sleeping on it for all these years? Mind you, not all of these researchers promise cure – most of them promise ‘reversal of Alzheimer’s symptoms’ (and its too early to predict up to what percentage), but a few of them do venture to call it a cure. And we might hear a lot more on this subject.
Actually I have a theory myself, but first I would like to find out how does the diagnosis of the disease compare with determination of the treatment effectiveness. While diagnostic tools to determine the electrical activity of the brain such as an electroencephalogram (EEG) and some other latest sophisticated technology have enabled medical science to pinpoint very narrowly the very nature of the disease, we know that our brain could play tricks on us, or rather, we do not know to what extent our brain could play tricks on us. Many people would claim that meditation, exercise, a leisure walk, etc, helps them think clearly, coordinate things better, reduce stress or in common language, improve brain activity.
So before I share my theory on treatment on Alzheimer’s disease, I would like to know: Will my memory improve if I go for an EEG every week? Now, I do exercise, meditate, walk a lot on a pretty much daily basis, but I do not see a definite or marked improvement in my memory. And hey, I have been good at those puzzles, especially word jumbles for several years now. I do not have the patience to solve crossword puzzles. But all this has absolutely no bearing on the fact that my memory could use some (actually a lot of) improvement.
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Wishing you a happy, healthy lifestyle!!