The Latest on Alzheimer’s

November 27, 2012
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AlzheimersBehind a dangerous new test approved by the FDA is a new drug by the same company. Meanwhile, new research offers better natural solutions.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new test from Eli Lilly & Co that detects the presence of proteins in the brain that have been connected to Alzheimer’s disease.

The test uses a $1,600-per-dose radioactive chemical called Amyvid that tags clumps of a sticky substance called amyloid proteins. Some of these proteins may become prions, that is, misfolded proteins that become toxic, but other amyloid proteins are relatively harmless. The chemical is then detected using a PET scan, a brain imaging technique.

In the October 12 issue of his Second Opinion newsletter, Dr. Robert J. Rowen warns that people who do not show signs of dementia should avoid this test—it’s not reliable. Some 20% of cognitively healthy older adults have been found in autopsies to have large quantities of amyloid in the brain, according to Denise Park, director of the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas. So why inject radioactive chemicals into the brain (of all places) for an unreliable test?

The FDA initially rejected Amyvid after an advisory panel had concerns that doctors would not be able to read and interpret scans correctly. But rather than changing the technology itself, Eli Lilly just came up with better ways to train doctors to use the test. The test remained the same, and FDA rubber-stamped its approval. It joins a growing number of imaging agents for Alzheimer’s, which together are estimated to have a global market of between $1 and 5 billion.

The FDA does not seem concerned that misreading the test results—or the test itself being inaccurate one-fifth of the time, which is even worse—means more patients will be misdiagnosed, and even more people will be scared into taking Alzheimer’s drugs.

Not coincidentally, we think, Eli Lilly has developed a new drug to go along with their new test. It’s called solanezumab, and it’s currently undergoing clinical trials. The drug was a failure in two trials of late-stage Alzheimer’s, but new data suggests it may slow memory loss by 42% in patients with a mild form of Alzheimer’s, which is why their early-detection test is so important: it’s only on those patients that their new drug may help at all!

There are some pesky side effects from the drug—such as cases of chest pain (angina) caused by not enough oxygen-rich blood going to the heart. Apparently that’s considered a fair trade-off for a 42% chance that your memory loss will be slowed a bit. We wish we understood how the FDA can get away with thinking like this.

Scientists are also studying the cancer drug bexarotene for treatment for Alzheimer’s. If it’s successful, it’s sure to bring a big financial windfall. Just ignore the side effects associated with bexarotene: severe allergic reactions, pancreatitis, blood problems, infections, swelling, and even major birth defects.

The great shame of it all is that there are many safe and effective natural treatments for Alzheimer’s that are being ignored by the mainstream medical establishment. For example, a new study from the University Medical Center in Amsterdam found superb results in patients with mild Alzheimer’s using a combination of supplement ingredients: fish oil high in DHA; PhosChol; and Uridine-300, a supplement that reduces abnormal nerve firing patterns in seizure, ADHD and ADD, autism and toxic CNS neuropathy, as well as organic brain syndrome. These primary ingredients were combined with small amounts of selenium, B vitamins, and alpha-tocopherol.

You may recall our article on the positive effects of coconut oil on the progression of Alzheimer’s, as well as our article on the power of nattokinase and niacinamide (a B vitamin) to halt and even reverse memory loss.

Last year, University of Kentucky researchers showed how important vitamin D is for the brain—they believe it may help brains stay “greased” during middle age. For cases where damage has already been done, fish oil shows tremendous ability to help rebuild the brain, though hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) remains the best treatment for brain injuries. Also avoid toxic chemicals such as BPA, which has been shown to impair memory and alter brain structure.

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34 Responses to “The Latest on Alzheimer’s”

  1. Robert O'Connor says:

    Here is a study that you might be interested in that directly addresses DNA regulation in Alzheimer disease as one of its components. On page 7 and 8 of the study it actually identifies the specific DNA that has been up regulated and down regulated and does a comparison to a pharmaceutical drug that was in phase lll clinical trial that was developed as a competing Nrf2 activator (the trial was recently discontinued due to adverse events including deaths). The study title is “Oxidative stress in health and disease: the therapeutic potential of Nrf2 activation.” The last line in that abstract states, “Pathway analysis of results shows significant modulation by Protandim of pathways involving not only antioxidant enzymes, but of those related to colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer disease.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=protandim%20alzheimers

    Nrf2 activation is a key to overcoming the antioxidant issues that have risen in the last several years. The issues of marketing antioxidant products that simply do not support or promote health have been unnerving. Nrf2 activation and the stimulation of our body to produce its own antioxidant enzymes is proving to be one of the most effective ways in reducing oxidative stress – free radical damage.

    I believe this supplement is unique and something that must be looked at and considered when determining health options – especially considering the research that is being conducted on the product and the adversity that is being created by the pharmaceutical companies.

    This particular supplement carries 5 patents and is being studied by a host of universities at their own expense – without corporate funding (initially several studies were partially funded by the company). There are 11 other peer reviewed studies that are currently listed on Pubmed.gov. ABC did a Primetime report several years ago on the product that was compelling and seemed to give some validation. (www,theabcvideo.com)

    I will give full disclosure here in that I do promote this product. I also own stock in the company. However it is my conviction, experience and the research that I did, that has lead me to those interests. I was lead to your newsletter by a remarkable nutritionist in Oregon and have enjoyed the articles, information and cause of this publication to educate.

       4 likes

    • Robert O'Connor says:

      Correction on the ABC Primetime report link – it is http://www.theabcvideo.com

         0 likes

    • Mich says:

      I also, read about a new therapy producing Nrf2——a synergy of plant materials , that turn on a switch (messaging) in the DNA to prioduce antioxidant enzymes. The application , entailed specific %s of milk thistle, green tea extract, bacopa, ashwagagandha and turmeric.. Many plant foods, do fight free radical activity in the body, so this also makes the adjunct case for the benfits of a vegetarian diet!

         3 likes

  2. Lou says:

    “Estimated to have a global market of between $1 and 5 billion.”

    Did you ever wonder how this country can spend twice as much per capita as the average “developed country” on “health care” and come in at 37th in health systems? http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html

    Did you ever wonder how this country can “vaccinate” our babies three or four times as much as the average “developed country” and come in at 43rd in childhood mortality and have an autism rate five to ten times worse? http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/24/nation/la-na-child-mortality-20100524

    Folks our grandfathers back when I was a kid, 70 years ago, did not get high tech tests at all; they did not get “flu shots” every year or ever; they did not eat “processed food” garbage; they did not drink water with toxic amounts of flurosilicate garbage added to it and they, by and large, did not get Alzheimer’s.

    You can think of Alzheimer’s as adult onset Autism. We inject trillions of atoms of neurodegenerative mercury, neurodegenerative aluminum and other neurodegenerative toxins into our babies brains and they get autism and the ASDs. We inject hundreds of billions of atoms of neurodegenerative mercury and other neurodegenerative toxins into our seniors brains and they get Alzheimer’s. This is not rocket science folks and the CDC is not NASA.

    How to Produce Alzheimer’s

    “The fluoride/aluminum association is of particular importance as it relates to Alzheimer’s Disease. Aluminum by itself is not readily absorbed by the body. However, in the presence of fluoride ions, the fluoride ions combine with the aluminum to form aluminum fluoride, which is absorbed by the body. In the body, the aluminum eventually combines with oxygen to form aluminum oxide or alumina (53). Alumina is the compound of aluminum that is found in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease.” Ronsivalli, LJ, “Addenda to Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies”, Note I don’t think things can be clearer than this.

    We have found that clinically normal individuals aged 60-65 who receive influenza vaccine three or four times during a five-year period, will five years later have an incidence of Alzheimer’s disease 10-fold greater than age-matched individuals who did not receive it.” Doctor H. Hugh Fudenburg, MD, Note and CDC cannot figure out where Alzheimer’s is coming from. Right! 90% of our seniors are getting the “flu vaccine” toxin.

    So if you want to produce Alzheimer’s just…

       6 likes

  3. Lane Simonian says:

    There are at least five natural products that have partially reversed Alzheimer’s disease in human clinical trials. They are rosemary (and lemon, orange, and lavender) essential oil via aromatherapy (Jimbo, et al.), a tincture of lemon balm (melissa officinalis) essential oil (Akhondzadeh, et al.), a tincture of sage (salvia officinalis) essential oil (Akhondzadeh), Bacopa monnieri, and heat-processed ginseng. Methoxyphenols such as eugenol in various essential oils (including rosemary, bay laurel, clove, nutmeg, and basil) and ferulic acid, coumaric acid, syringic acid, and vanillic acid in heat-processed ginseng inhibit, detoxify (scavenge), and repair part of the damage that peroxynitrites due to critical receptors in the brain. These include receptors involved in short-term memory, sleep, mood, social recognition, alertness, smell, and brain growth. Aromatherapy is much safer than tinctures. The down side is that essential oils that increase cognition also can increase anxiety and agitation in Alzheiemer’s patients with high levels of adrenaline. More relaxing oils such as rose, patchouli, lavender, and sweet orange may have to be used to offset these effects. Natural products such as these can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

       8 likes

  4. Al Stein says:

    The Alzheimers Assn. is a joke. Constantly soliciting funds while obtaining little results. They should be investigated by the appropriate agencies.

       10 likes

    • Brad Pitman says:

      Theis the medical scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association testified before congree in 2011, “the cause or causes of Alzheimer’s remain unknown”. try asking some of these experts how Alzheimer’s drugs treat unkown causes. Just maybe the public will begin to realize the legitamacy of the Alz Assoc.

      The AD Assoc fulfills many services but accompanying those pluses is the appearance they are no more than a mouth piece for the drug industry, failed researchers, and that includes 106 years of failed research. None of the drugs have stopped reversed, or cured anyone.

      The answer to AD is iin the behavior of the AD pateint. Something causes those positive moments that occur naturally without medical or pharmaceutical interference. Two bottles of one amino acid has sent the first patinet home form a nursing home. They followed what we started and others have followed for the last 16 plus years.

         0 likes

  5. Dr. Ronald L. Shuler says:

    What about the artical that appeared in the journal of alzheimer Sept 2012 about polymanose effectiveness?

       2 likes

    • Jim Illick says:

      To see the above referenced study, go to:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=22976077

         0 likes

      • Bruce Stewart says:

        This is a very interesting article and where are the news headlines, stories, articles? Did I miss them? Probably not. Most doctors and/or researchers seem to be embarrassed when something natural works. All those “health nuts” will go around saying ” I told you so”. It’s just to easy. I can walk into a health food store and self medicate!

        The aloe polymannoses or the eight mannose sugars in aloe are essential to intercellular communication. Some people do not have enough of these “essential sugars” in their diet.

           0 likes

  6. Alzheimer’s is among the top ten monsters hiding beneath my bed. Thanks for providing us with information about big pharma’s latest machinations. As with most medical issues, it’s up to the consumer to stay informed. Your newsletter helps those attempting to ferret out hopeful promises from truth.

       5 likes

  7. Ze'ev Ben-Dror, C.C.N. says:

    I’m the third generation in my family (my mother and her mother) with Alzheimer’s disease. My worst problem manifested itself by making it impossible for me to remember anything after an original thought, i.e. after the first thought I began to think about something else, but when I tried to
    return to the original thought, it was always impossible. Thanks to Dr. Mary Newport I began to use a mixture (50:50) of organic coconut and MCT oils with a dose of 3 tablespoons with each meal and two tablespoons at bedtime. As a result, today I don’t have the specific problem anymore. In fact even if there are a number of thoughts between the original and last thoughts, I can remember all of the thoughts. In addition a friend gave me a test with lists. I repeated the lists
    to him in exact order. Then he gave me a list of 13 things. Never in my life could I have remembered such a long list, but thanks to Dr. Newport’s treatment I remembered everything on the list in exact order. Ketones are marvelous things. Dr. Veech at the neurology lab at the NIH is working with ketones and attempting to raise funding for a study on Alzheimer’s patients. Dr. Newport is in close contact with him and she attended several conferences with him in order to speak about the treatment and distribute her article. She has also written a wonderful book called
    “WHAT IF THERE WAS A CURE FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE. I feel as if I’ve been reborn and I
    owe it all to Dr. Newport. After there have been several research studies which prove that the treatment works I believe that she is entitled to a share of a Nobel Prize in medicine.
    Ze’ev Ben-Dror, C.C.N.
    Anti-Aging Agora
    member, Life Extension Foundation
    member, British Longevity Society

       8 likes

    • Carmela Courtney says:

      Hi, thank you for writing your letter. Would you send me the information on coconut oil and MIT? (I cannot remember the acrinim for the second product you mentioned.) I would like to begin a preventative program for memory loss, dementia…Sincerely, C. Courtney

         0 likes

    • Oma says:

      I also read that article by Dr. Newport! Coconut oil is a wonderful substance. It can be rubbed (and absorbed) on the skin, put in coffee, tea, oatmeal (anything warm) and can give people back their health. Why wouldn’t you try something that won’t hurt and is so good for you? I put in on burns, use it as a moisturizer and use it in a homemade deodorant with cornstarch and oils, and use it whenever a recipe calls for vegetable oil.

         0 likes

  8. Sherry Moore says:

    What about mercury detoxing? If you will recall, Alzheimer’s popped up at the same time that autism and hyperactivity popped up, in the 1970s. What caused alot of problems was the removal of iodine from bread supplementation after the WHO fear mongered iodine throughout the 1960s. The WHO is a Rockefeller institution and a Rockefeller initiated the fear mongering.

    I believe heavy metals over-stimulate proteins and enzymes (a type of protein). The enzymes will damage healthy tissue when over stimulated. Iodine fulfillment therapy was the method of mercury detoxing that I used for my son on the advice of a natural health counselor (with a mail order degree). If it were up to his neurologist, he would still have autism.

       3 likes

  9. Steve says:

    The Chinese herb Club Moss (Huperzinia – sp?) has been used for more than 2000 years to combat dementia, with great results.

       2 likes

  10. Jim Illick says:

    For a study published in September 2012 in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease on a natural alternative, or rather an integrative approach which improved the patients’ quality of life over a year’s time, go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=22976077.

       2 likes

  11. Stephen M says:

    Prions cause Prion Disease, also known as MAD COW DISEASE!!!

       1 likes

  12. Brad Roon says:

    How can the FDA make these decisions? Easily. The management of the FDA is either corporate executives running this fiefdom for their benefit, or govt employees looking for a job when they get out of govt “service”.

       4 likes

  13. MDs should be ashamed of what they enable through their improper use of pharma, vax and their ignorance on food and supplements. They should be holding the line against corruption of their profession and revealing who the cheaters are. instead, they are aligned with them. Very poor

       6 likes

  14. Robert Cruder says:

    Readers can see the brain-series hosted by Charlie Rose, broadcast on PBS, moderated and commented by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Eric Kandel and presented by actual researchers. They will often invite a patient who failed the simple lifestyle treatments as well as the commonly-used drugs and then benefitted from cutting-edge research. Previous shows relating to MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS are at http://www.charlierose.com/view/collection/10702 .

    Tests to locate and measure defective proteins in the brain are essential for research but have no clinical value. Every such test poses a threat to the patient but the patient rarely cares. They are typically terminal and volunteer not in expectation of a cure but to participate in a search for that cure.

    The same is true for early drug research. If one offered a terminal patient a research drug with a 1% chance of cure and a 99% chance of death, many would consider either outcome a boon. That 1% vs. 99% leads to the 80% vs. 20% drugs that physicians expect.

    Researchers are not stupid or greedy as this article might imply. Search a site like medscape.com. Early studies of alternative or nutritional interventions, often with limited budget and few participants yield wildly successful or depressing results by mere chance. The industry will publicize the former and call the latter a conspiracy. In larger follow-up studies or in meta-analysis, the effects, positive and negative typically disappear.

    Some nutrients such as fish oil that reduce disease frequency don’t slow progression. Others like CDP choline offer temporary improvement that regresses. Even low-dose aspirin which statistically extends life for those who have had an MI or an occlusive stroke also statistically shortens life for those who have not experienced one of those events. There do not appear to be any “magic” nutrients.

    For every disease, there are a multitude of simple, obvious, even trendy interventions that are useless. Each cure will come from a pure, synthetic chemical that targets a metabolic defect. The early version of that chemical will be expensive, barely tolerable and marginally effective. If it targeted my condition rather than offering some more ambiguous health benefit I would gladly buy the chemical.

       0 likes

    • Lane Simonian says:

      The only way to find out if a small study is misleading is to do a larger study. Almost every study on natural products to treat Alzheimer’s disease have been done outside of the United States and almost no one in the United States has followed up on this research. The right natural compounds in the right concentrations can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. All you need is a compound that effectively scavenges peroxynitrites and repair part of their damage. In the case of certain essential oils, those compounds (carvacrol, thymol, geraniol, and especially eugenol) can be easily inhaled into the part of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s disease (the hippocampus). The idea that only synthetic drugs can be used to treat disease is a myth.

         2 likes

    • Bruce Stewart says:

      “Each cure will come from a pure, synthetic chemical that targets a metabolic defect.” Are you serious? Who do you work for? The aloe polymannose and the coconut medium chain triglycerides work without the very dangerous side effects of the synthetic chemicals that will eventually fail or lose their effectiveness such as paxil. It’s even dangerous to stop using it without very careful monitoring.

      Let your food be your medicine.

         1 likes

  15. Rachael Rocamora says:

    Your articles like this are so informative. They give many of us hope and confidence in the gentle things that we can afford to have access to that really make the difference in our quality of life and health. Also appreciated are the warning information such as the things to avoid.

    Thank you!!!

       2 likes

  16. Angelica says:

    Healthy brains are the result of healthy diets. Diets w/o added sugars are excellent for good brain function. When fried foods, processed foods and alcohol are also removed from the diet it’s even better for the brain. We don’t need costly, toxic testing and toxic remedies. We need good food. Very basic, Very simple; but not much money for big pharm.

       4 likes

  17. lisa says:

    good data, however Fish is no longer good to eat nor is fish oil. U can get the same Omega 3’s in Blue green algae. If U read the book Killer Fish, you will see that you will never eat fish or shellfish again.

       1 likes

  18. Emily Dale says:

    It is a sad commentary on our government and major businesses that natural remedies are being so roundly suppressed in favor of synthetic ones with sometimes disastrous side effects. I am glad that I had some farsighted Integrative Physicians who knew the value of balancing the vitamin/mineral/elemental content of the body, and I am now into my 87th year in good health, not having had an illness for the past 30 years, aside from a severe case of eczema from chemical allergies which was corrected with natural antihistamines. I eat totally organic foods, aside from rare occasions when I dine out, and am in process of establishing an organic raised container garden for the senior complex where I live which has 500+/- residents, most of whom are in poor health or structural condition due to improper diets filled with GMOs, sugar and pesticide/herbicide-laden foods, and an assortment of pharmaceuticals, which, at best, keeps them in a state of barely being alive but living long enough to enrich their prescribing physicians and the drug companies.

       5 likes

  19. Frances in California says:

    While not an MD myself, I have worked for 12 years with Neurologists who are, and specialize in Alzheimer’s. At UCLA we are not at present doing a trial with Lilly, but treatments of this type are discussed and considered; no one knows better than our docs what is best to try – likewise to avoid – in treating their patients. Potential research participants are excrutiatingly screened; perhaps you need to provide a little more background on the rigors of obtaining FDA approval for the prescribing of a drug or the ordering of a test. When they’re not seeing patients and analyzing data, our docs apply their genius to writing Grant Proposals. UCLA has an entire Department dedicated to protection of Research Subjects. The difficulty with Drug Discovery, is not that patients will go around the advise of their doctors to make a drug company give them medications, but the heartbreaking reality of where Alzheimer’s research stands right now. No, we don’t have a cure yet. It takes as long as it takes – if you do good research! – but we’re vigilant after potential medications to enhance the quality of life of patients whose great misfortune is that they already have AD while we continue to search for a cure. Ease up! We’d love nothing better than to be put out of business by someone finding the Cure.

       1 likes

    • ACurtis says:

      I disagree. No one wants anyone to find “a cure.” If a cure were found, then those doctors, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies would be out of money and a job. The Western allopathic medical system is set up as a revolving doctor patient/CUSTOMER type system. Natural/alternative medicine has, for thousands and thousands of years, had cures for various dis-eases. Most recently, there are various cures for all sorts of cancers. The allopathic community calls all of the natural cancer cures “quakery” and tries to run those doctors out of the country/out of practice/broke. Why? Because they are protecting their own monopoly of MAKING MONEY.

      Susan B. Komen, The American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association–all of these organizations have had so much money over the years “donated” to them that all of these issues/dis-eases should have been eradicated by now. They haven’t. Why? Because these organizations LIKE the money that comes into them. The head honchos at the top make huge, huge salaries. The researchers makes lots and lots of money, always “searching” for the cure.

      The cures are there, right in front of their faces. But if they acknowledged the fact that there actually IS a cure, then they would have to dismantle their organizations and admit they’ve “cured” the dis-ease. And they won’t do that, because they like the money too much.

         3 likes

  20. The link between Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes has been in the news lately. Based on the results of research studies, including a large fifteen year Japanese study published in the journal NEUROLOGY (September, 2012), the two diseases are certainly linked. The question is….just how are these two devastating diseases related? The answer does not seem to be the obvious one….high blood sugar.

    The American population is aging. The risk of developing dementia as well as the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.

    Over 100 million Americans have either pre diabetes or diabetes and millions more have metabolic syndrome (a precursor to type 2 diabetes). If diabetes and dementia are indeed linked, our population is aging, and aging increases the risk for diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)..we are headed for a crisis situation that will escalate over the next decades.

    What is the impending crisis?

    Dementia is the loss of brain function that affects memory, thinking and reasoning, language, judgment, and behavior. Is the US headed for a nation of older adults who can’t remember or take care of themselves? Is there anything that can be done to prevent this unimaginable situation?

    For years, there has been a fairly straightforward link between having uncontrolled diabetes and increasing the risk of developing vascular dementia. (Dementia involving blood vessels). Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia.
    After all, the high blood sugar of uncontrolled diabetes damages blood vessels and causes decreased functioning in the kidneys, retina of the eyes, can cause strokes and heart attacks, lessening of circulation. It stands to reason that high blood sugar could damage the blood vessels that deliver nutrients to the brain
    But, the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Between 60-80% of people who suffer from dementia have Alzheimer’s disease.

    Alzheimer’s is marked by progressive loss of memory, decreased ability to reason, think, speak, make decisions, care for oneself and is ultimately fatal. A common feature of those with Alzheimer’s is the formation of abnormal protein plaques and nerve tangles in the brain.

    To date, the precise link between Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes is not known…but studies do indicate that those with metabolic syndrome, pre diabetes, and type 2 diabetes ARE at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

    In fact, a growing number of…

       1 likes

  21. R. L. Glaser says:

    There is abundant evidence that testosterone is neuroprotective. In clinical practice, testosterone, delivered by subcutaneous pellet implant improves memory and cognition in men and women.

    ref.
    Glaser R, York AE, Dimitrakakis C. Beneficial effects of testosterone therapy in women measured by the validated Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). Maturitas. 2011;68:355-361.

    Fargo KN, Foecking EM, Jones KJ, Sengelaub DR. Neuroprotective actions of androgens on motoneurons. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology. 2009;30:130-141.

       0 likes

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