Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Find New Target For Alzhiemer's

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the good-news-i-forget-why dept.

Medicine 107

GarryFre writes "Neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found a new therapeutic target that can potentially lead to a new way to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The target called neutral sphingomyelinase (N-SMase) is a protein which, when activated, can cause a chain of reactions in the cell leading to neuronal death and memory loss. Already a substance has been found that shows some promise in halting the progression of the disease."

cancel ×

107 comments

Good genes (0)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675688)

My grandfather died of alzheimers.
But atleast i have no heridity for alzheimers.

Re:Good genes (-1, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678322)

Are you implying that your grandma slept around? If he's your biological grandpa, you are at terrible risk.

EXPLANATION FOR SUBTLE HUMOR, HA HA HA (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678996)

No, i was attempting a variation of the stupid "I may have alzheimers but atleast i don't have alzheimers" joke.
But you're obviously all too dense to appreciate subtlety, so here you have the explanation for it.

And if you wonder, yes he really had alzheimers, it may not have been the precise reason he died but it was at an advanced stage when he passed away.

Re:EXPLANATION FOR SUBTLE HUMOR, HA HA HA (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33680016)

But you're obviously all too dense to appreciate subtlety

I'm old, gimme a break.

Re:EXPLANATION FOR SUBTLE HUMOR, HA HA HA (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33680022)

Don't call mcgrew dense! He's just saying that if your grandma was a dirty little slut then you might not eventually suffer from a rotting brain. Take his comment in the helpful spirit that it was given.

Generic Reply (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#33681422)

Considering they(grandparents) were cousins, I'm sure I would've been better off had she been a dirty slut, genetically speaking.
Unfortunately she's(alive still, and) a strict and religious lady.

That being said, who doesn't love their grandparents even though they have their flaws?
However, i do plan to cheat my fate by being an educated person and as such having a smaller chance to catch alzheimers, by also being a doctor i should have the best possible defense against neural degeneration.

So messed up (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675698)

Why does Alzheimer's have to sound so much like "Old timers" when said? It's prejudice against old people!

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675804)

was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alzheimer%27s_disease

That is why.

Re:Why? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675968)

Are you a German too?

Re:Why? (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676248)

Seriously though, that name needs to be changed.

- Dan.

Re:So messed up (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676392)

When they were learning to talk, "old timer's disease" is how my kids mispronounced it. But as to "prejudice against old people", unlike arthritis, only old timers get alzheimer's.

Luckily for me nobody in my family has had alzheimer's, but arthritis is rampant. I've had arthritis since I was a teenager. I'd far rather have arthritis than be even suceptable to alzheimer's, especially now that I'm getting older.

Re:So messed up (3, Informative)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677112)

90-95% of the time that's true, but alzheimer's isn't always just an old timers disease. It's called early-onset Alzeimer's disease [wikipedia.org]

Re:So messed up (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677138)

When they were learning to talk, "old timer's disease" is how my kids mispronounced it. But as to "prejudice against old people", unlike arthritis, only old timers get alzheimer's.

For variable definitions of "old timers." Alzheimers can come decades before legal retirement age.

Re:So messed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678644)

Oh, silly them. Naming the condition after the doctor who first diagnosed and described the condition. Silly them. At least he went about describing the problem, instead of just saying 'I don't know' and stopping there. Describing the problem is the first step. Even if you don't describe it completely, or get some of the details wrong, the act of describing it puts a name on it, and people can read about it, and add to the knowledge base. For hundreds of years before, people just said 'I don't know'. "I Don't Know" means others can't read about it and add to its description. If people know about it, they can read all thats known about it, and add to the information (just like these guys did!). So thats why. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906. Oh, and the difference between old timers and Alzheimers is with old timers you forget to zip up, and with Alzheimers, you forget to zip down.

Scary, scary illness (4, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675782)

I admit being truly scared of alzheimer's.

It may be completely irrational, but cancer looks much less scary in comparison.

Re:Scary, scary illness (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675838)

Look on the bright side: Anybody who get's Alzheimers forgets their fear of it before long.

Re:Scary, scary illness (3, Insightful)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675920)

Never known anyone with the disease have you?

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676002)

What disease?

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676258)

McDonalds!

- Dan.

It's a reference, Don't mod me down. :)

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Funny)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676686)

Heck, there are plenty of bright sides. It's postively a glowing sphere of joy.

You get to hide your own Easter eggs.

Every day you meet new people.

You never worry about stuff. Car? What car?

(I kid, I kid... but laughter *is* the best medicine.)

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676942)

And you don't need to buy new books. Just read the same one over and over again.

Unless you're Terry Pratchett; it won't be long before he writes the same one again.

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Insightful)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677738)

And you don't need to buy new books. Just read the same one over and over again.

Unless you're Terry Pratchett; it won't be long before he writes the same one again.

You may be on to something. In addition to having to wait 22.3 years in order for a tragedy to become funny, there is also a certain window before hand during which it is also funny. IRT Alzheimer's, one might say, "[that author who committed suicide recently whose name I have forgotten] cured his Alzheimer's - with a bullet! What? Too soon?" Maybe a year (or ten - Alzheimer's is tricky that way) from now Terry Pratchet will be alive but suffering more from the disease, at which point the reception of your joke may cause you to say, "What? Too late?"

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

tandelaf (953116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678884)

And you don't need to buy new books. Just read the same one over and over again.

LOL... then I have Alzheimer's already. It's called "a heavy case of ADD". I can even watch the same movies every 1 or 2 years and enjoy myself again. I also read and learn and then forget my new "knowledge". Some stuff sticks, but never too much... that's why I have to be studying constantly in order to stay competitive (in every aspect). My grandma died with Alzheimer's. I wonder if there's a relation between the two.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33685016)

Terry Pratchett; it won't be long before he writes the same one again.

Are you saying he hasn't already?

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

tandelaf (953116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678826)

Right on... the point is that if you get Alz you will not suffer because you won't realize anything, much contrary to cancer. Only those who love you will suffer IF at all. I'm somehow different though because my grandma had Alz and I never suffered about it because I knew she wasn't suffering conciously. For me it's all that matters.

Re:Scary, scary illness (1, Flamebait)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675846)

I admit being truly scared of alzheimer's.

It may be completely irrational, but cancer looks much less scary in comparison.

You should take up smoking: Cigarettes delay onset of Alzheimer's disease [medicalnewstoday.com]

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675942)

Regularly super-sizing your McD meals can help prevent Alzheimer's. Heck it even reduces your chances of getting cancer.

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Interesting)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676034)

Regularly super-sizing your McD meals can help prevent Alzheimer's. Heck it even reduces your chances of getting cancer.

I'm being serious. Maybe one could use a nicotine patch instead. Here's another study: Beneficial effects of nicotine [wiley.com]

From the abstract:

"When chronically taken, nicotine may result in: (1) positive reinforcement, (2) negative reinforcement, (3) reduction of body weight, (4) enhancement of performance, and protection against: (5) Parkinson's disease (6) Tourette's disease (7) Alzheimers disease, (8) ulcerative colitis and (9) sleep apnea. The reliability of these effects varies greatly but justifies the search for more therapeutic applications for this interesting compound.

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677396)

<quote>I'm being serious.</quote>

Yes I know.

If you want serious, practically every human alive today is going to die. So the ones who go on very restrictive diets and lifestyles that they dislike just so that they last longer might be doing themselves a disservice. If they have a good reason for doing so, then go ahead, but if the only reason is just to last longer, that's a being silly.

That's like trying to keep a car in pristine condition by hardly ever driving it (or even not driving it). If say you're trying to save that car for your great-grandchildren, OK I guess, but if you're just keeping it for the sake of keeping it, you're in denial of the inevitable.

If you put up with some boiled fish and vegetables diet, don't be so surprised if you end up with dementia/alzheimer's or cancer at a ripe old age (or "dying of complications following a fall"). Conversely if you take a diet full of sugar, saturated fats and transfats don't be so surprised if you get a heart attack or worse get "locked-in" by a stroke.

Pick your poison with your eyes open :).

p.s. I've heard of doctors telling 90 year olds to stop smoking. If I were a doctor, I might say, "hey have you ever tried a good Cuban cigar, think you might like one?". Of course I'd probably get sued to oblivion by their relatives if they actually keel over after puffing a cigar.

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679184)

If you want serious, practically every human alive today is going to die. So the ones who go on very restrictive diets and lifestyles that they dislike just so that they last longer might be doing themselves a disservice. If they have a good reason for doing so, then go ahead, but if the only reason is just to last longer, that's a being silly.

Pick your poison with your eyes open :).

p.s. I've heard of doctors telling 90 year olds to stop smoking. If I were a doctor, I might say, "hey have you ever tried a good Cuban cigar, think you might like one?". Of course I'd probably get sued to oblivion by their relatives if they actually keel over after puffing a cigar.

Agree 100%. That's why I choose to smoke--and if it protects against Alzheimer's, that's just a bonus. I do not enjoy McD meals as much though.

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677468)

actually, you need a nornicotine patch.

ProTip: Don't quote abstracts or conclusions of a study without a link to the actual study.

Sadly, after you have read a lot of studies you find that some of the conclusion and abstracts do not accurate reflect that data. Usually because they don't bother to consult a biostatician. If they do, it's usually way to late into the study.

Did you notice that one and two conflict? They is usually an indicator that the finding aren't above placebo. I haven't read the study, so I could be wrong. There is a first time for everything~

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679308)

actually, you need a nornicotine patch.

ProTip: Don't quote abstracts or conclusions of a study without a link to the actual study.

There is a first time for everything~

Glad to pop your cherry for you!~

Nicotine is actually metabolized into nornicotine. And if you bothered to go the the linked abstract, the study itself is just a click away if you were really interested and not just being snarky~~

Re:Scary, scary illness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676300)

I get it, because you die of other causes before you can develop it, just like with smoking! Go ahead, mod me redundant.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675888)

At least Alzheimer's is affecting people usually at old age, so you can still live a pretty long life. There are children dying of cancer, though.
In all honesty, any disease that causes suffering and death scare the shit out of me, so you are not alone.

"It may be completely irrational..." (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676094)

this kind of irrational thinking could be your onset of alzheimer's

Re:Scary, scary illness (4, Insightful)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676212)

In the end, all you truly have, is your mind. Who you are, who you were, and who you will be, is all in your mind. Cancer kills the body... Alzhiemer's kills who you are, and who you could be, destroying your memory of who you were...

I agree, other diseases, such as cancer do not put as much fear into me, as much as Alzhiemer's.

Re:Scary, scary illness (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676742)

In the end, all you truly have, is your mind.

I think, therefore I ... mmmmm pancakes

Re:Scary, scary illness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677562)

Alzhiemer's kills who you are, and who you could be, destroying your memory of who you were

My Grandmother passed away this past December but had Alzheimer's for many years, progressively getting worse over time. In addition to what you list, I'd like to add that it has a large impact on those that care about the person. As my Grandmother's Alzheimer's state worsened, my mother and uncle (her only surviving children) became very frustrated in trying to care for her. Caring for someone that doesn't even know you is rough. Trying to hold a conversation, only to repeat it, knowing that it won't be remembered, is frustrating. You essentially care for the body of someone who "died" already.

My family, probably like many others, has plenty of medical conditions to worry about. Alzheimer's is the one I fear above the others, not so much for what it will do to me, but for what it will do to those I love.

Mij

Re:Scary, scary illness (3, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679510)

In addition to trying to deal with someone who doesn't remember you, there can be major inter-family problem because at least some Alzheimers patients can no longer tell what happened from what they think happened, so you run into situations where the person says "why doesn't my son ever come visit me?" when the son in question is sitting in the room, and other family members, not realizing that the person is flat-out wrong, start resenting one another based on the testimony of, well, a crazy person.

And then the patient starts saying the nursing staff is abusive, and that the doctor hurts her when he checks her out -- and who do you believe? because while you know your grandmother is now basically totally unreliable, you also know that the staff knows that too and if they *were* abusive, who would know? and so you run into situations where some family members are trying to keep the patient happy and others are saying the patient needs to be moved to another facility, and others are so upset about the whole situation that they've stopped even visiting...

When my grandmother finally died, the sense of relief was palpable, and several years later, most all her relatives are friendly to one another again, and that was with a good nursing home, everyone living locally and visiting every week, and all of us talking regularly about the problems with each other to try to keep exactly this from happening.

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Interesting)

godel_56 (1287256) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679708)

My Grandmother passed away this past December but had Alzheimer's for many years, progressively getting worse over time. In addition to what you list, I'd like to add that it has a large impact on those that care about the person. As my Grandmother's Alzheimer's state worsened, my mother and uncle (her only surviving children) became very frustrated in trying to care for her. Caring for someone that doesn't even know you is rough. Trying to hold a conversation, only to repeat it, knowing that it won't be remembered, is frustrating. You essentially care for the body of someone who "died" already. Mij

I think Alzheimer's sufferers should consider euthanizing while they still have the capacity to make a rational decision. I would, under those circumstances, even if only to save the family and society from the burden of looking after a "living dead" person.

BTW, for a possible cheap method of prevention, consider turmeric/curcumin.

From http://www.bri.ucla.edu/bri_weekly/news_060206.asp [ucla.edu]

"Turmeric is also being studied for its ability to help treat Alzheimer's disease. The prevalence of Alzheimer's among adults in India aged 70 to 79 is among the world's lowest. It is 4.4 times less than the rate in the United States. A 2004 study with mice published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry suggested that curcumin might be of help for Alzheimer's patients. The study, conducted by UCLA and Veterans Affairs scientists, showed that a rodent chow laced with curcumin slowed the accumulation in mouse brains of protein fragments known as beta amyloids. They are considered key to the development of Alzheimer's. Curcumin did this more powerfully than many other drugs being tested as Alzheimer's treatments, said Cole, the study's principal investigator. "

By far the cheapest form of turmeric is as bulk powder from Asian spice shops, but getting extracts in capsule form from a vitamin company would be much easier to take.

Re:Scary, scary illness (1)

Spugglefink (1041680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33683916)

I think Alzheimer's sufferers should consider euthanizing while they still have the capacity to make a rational decision. I would, under those circumstances...

That's my plan too. I'm not at all suicidal, but I've been through this with my grandparents, and I very much hope I have enough presence of mind left to know when to eat the bullet or whatever to avoid ending up like that. It's just nasty for everyone, including the disease sufferer. They may not be fully aware of what's going on, but it doesn't stop them from being pissed off all the time, and seriously hateful and nasty to live with.

Everyone loses.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677904)

The "mind" is a high-level abstraction of many separate systems, including aspects of your nervous system, its behavioral predispositions (even when that behavior is not being displayed at the moment), and some ill-defined notion of consciousness, too.

And it all goes away when you die of cancer just as much as when you die of Alzhiemer's...the systems symply shut down in a different order and on a different schedule in the two cases.

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Insightful)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678424)

In the end, all you truly have, is your mind. Who you are, who you were, and who you will be, is all in your mind. Cancer kills the body... Alzhiemer's kills who you are, and who you could be, destroying your memory of who you were...

I agree, other diseases, such as cancer do not put as much fear into me, as much as Alzhiemer's.

That's what I thought. Then I saw someone dying of breast cancer that metastasized to various parts of the body. When enough parts start failing, your brain starts getting less of the chemicals it needs and more of the chemicals that cause problems. Yeah, I've seen non-brain cancer make a person lose memory of what they did a few minutes ago, collapse into confusion and incomprehensibility punctuated by short moments of complete lucidity, and finally lapse into a coma that ended in death.

You know what? It ALL sucks. If it doesn't kill you instantly so you never experience it, dying is a hellish experience. Mind and body aren't independent - what hurts one hurts the other.

Re:Scary, scary illness (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676282)

It may be completely irrational, but cancer looks much less scary in comparison.

They're both horrible diseases. Cancer is physically torturous, alzheimer's mentally torturous. Both are hell on the people who love the afflicted.

There are no good ways to die, but those two diseases have to be among the worst ways.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676734)

My mother died of cancer. I've had a melanoma myself (removed and no sign of return, thankfully). I'm still more scared of Alzheimer's.

Re:Scary, scary illness FWIW (3, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677670)

My father died of complications of Altzheimers.

It was hell on my mother for years, but *he* seemed to enjoy it.

(The complication was that a year or two after he had been "hospitalized" and gotten to the point where they had to strap him into the bed, one night he stood up in bed and fell out of it, landing on his head and breaking his neck.)

Altzheimers is hard on those close to the patient, not so much on the patient. But this *does* depend on the form. Some people stay aware that they are losing their minds. My father never seemed to notice. I still remember him trying to seduce my wife while both my mother and I were in the room, he was confined to a bed. He was stroking her arm and telling her he didn't have any family...

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Insightful)

ImprovOmega (744717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678358)

There are no good ways to die,

I wouldn't say that. Running along, healthy as a horse then suddenly keeling over at age 80ish seems a pretty good way to go. Lingering deaths pretty much universally suck, but there are ways to die (naturally) that are quick, relatively painless, and don't cause long-term stress and suffering for those that love you.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678938)

Add ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease) to that list; it's not (directly) painful, but your mind stays sharp while you are increasingly immobilized (loss of voluntary muscular control) until you are trapped inside a body that you can no longer even communicate through; it becomes a tragic blessing to lose involuntary muscular control as well (breathing, typically) and perish.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33683278)

There are no good ways to die, but those two diseases have to be among the worst ways.

What about death with honor? /klingon

Re:Scary, scary illness (2, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678618)

Funny that. My dad has both and if I had to pick I'd say the Alzheimer's, by a wide margin, is hardest on him and his family. Its not just the forgetfulness, which is only one symptom, its the dementia and the loss of basic skills. He more or less lives in a dreamworld, never sure where he is, when it is, who he is. Its worse at night and during the day he seems okay, but he has no idea what is going on. He will sometimes latch onto a conspiracy theory like believing some stranger he just met is trying to hurt him or stole from him 20 years ago. His emotions are more or less out of control. He's lost most of his skills. Its not that he doesn't have the wherewithal to cook, its just he doesn't know how or exactly what an oven is anymore. Alzheimer's is like 100 diseases in one. Its really incredible how much damage it does and we're not even in the late stages.

Cancer on the other hand is difficult, but its not much more than driving him to the hospital for a chemo treatment every few weeks and dealing with the side-effects. If I had to pick, I'd pick cancer without a second thought. The treatments for it are much better. Alzheimer's is a guaranteed slow and painful death sentence that begins with the loss of one's self. I hate to say it, but I think the most humane thing would be if the cancer killed him before the Alzheimer's got worse. At a certain point they just lie in bed, crap themselves, cry, and scream. Man, how I wish there were better treatments or a cure for this. Its fucking awful.

Re:Scary, scary illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678698)

I admit being truly scared of alzheimer's.

Really? Why?

I look forward to when I can enjoy all the crazy and forgetfulness of my chronic alcoholism without having to keep buying this expensive booze.

My relatives look forward to the day when I can stagger up to them and fail to recognize them, without throwing up on their shoes during the transaction.

Remember all those things you got away with when you were a kid because "You just didn't know any better.", make plans now and write them down, and look forward to the when a woman will be explaining to a the police office at US Swim and Fitness that "He just walked into our locker room and into our shower and kept calling out 'mom, where are you?!' while staring at us showering,.. I think he has the alzheimer's. Can you take him home?".

and for any of you who are getting your easily offended on, Yes, I have watched relatives die of this disease.

I hope (1)

KillaGouge (973562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675800)

I hope that we can come up with a good way to fight Alzheimer's. It is such a heart-wrenching thing to have a loved one have it.

Re:I hope (4, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676016)

The type of Alzheimer's they talk about here is caused by ß-amyloidosis which is a mis folded protein disease (prion - like mad cow). What happens is that normal secondary protein structure is converted from an form to ß causing conformational changes in the protein's tertiary structure leading to insolubility (this insoluble protein is now called an amyloid). Supposedly the Rice researchers have found a way to prevent the ß-amyloid deposits from causing cell damage, however unless it's 100% efficient it won't be enough because misfolded proteins are "contagious" - that is they cause other normally folded protiens to convert to the insoluble misfolded amyloid which will proceed with exponential growth. Eventually you'll have every one of those proteins in the ß configuration.

Re:I hope (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678086)

One would presume it would be regular medication, not a cure. This is just treatment for a symptom; which is a good thing.

Should be good for me, but really doesn't matter.. (1)

93,000 (150453) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675826)

I'm likely in line for alzheimers, but pretty sure my heart will kill me before I get there. Genetics is a bitch.

Awesome for the rest of the world, though!

Re:Should be good for me, but really doesn't matte (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677508)

If we can get ideological belief out of science, we could very well have the technology to grow you a new heart before yours quits.

Re:Should be good for me, but really doesn't matte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678754)

Wow, a rational point of view in regards to science and life extension!? Get out of my Slashdot! Science should only be used to build enormous white metal cylinders filled with kerosene to chase after irrational Space Age ideals that never made sense! Not to live longer, better lives. No, that's wrong somehow. Wanting more space is OK, but more time is wrong. Right Slashgeeks?

Hope for Pratchett? (5, Interesting)

Sparkycat (1703438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675834)

It seems like Alzheimer's research is progressing surprisingly rapidly. I wonder if treatments will come soon enough to save the minds of people already in the early stages? Terry Pratchett in particular springs to mind.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675880)

And yet as we progress towards more and more people with the illness (it's a genetic dominant), and more and more expensive health care... who will eventually decide who gets the cure?

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676046)

It's the golden rule, silly.

He who has the gold makes the rules.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (3, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676048)

Well, if Ron Paul has his way, the rich, and maybe, if they're feeling generous that day, they'll pick a few poor people suffering from the disease. You know, a Libertarian paradise.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676242)

Modded troll, eh? Okay, Mr. Moderator, put on your Anonymous hat and tell me what exactly I wrote that was false?

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677530)

false does not mean troll.

Putting a post with an irrelevant topic is.

Not that I would have modded your post troll.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677798)

I bet if you try very hard, you can find a better moderation tag than "Troll" to use for "a post with an irrelevant topic".

In fact, Troll roughly refers to a post that espouses an inflamatory point of view for the purpose of generating upset replies, rather than because the poster actually believes what he's saying and is trying to contribute to the conversation.

Because it is often difficult to discern intent (some people really are nuts; and unlike the old days when trolling was a bit more sport than it is now, trolls don't always contain clues to the astute reader that they are, in fact, trolls), and because many people (like you and GP) don't know what "Troll" means, it most often gets used for "I want to censor your post because I don't like it".

Over/under on minutes before someone mods this Troll?

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677556)

Ron Paul's take on medical care and insurance [youtube.com] is sensible, why are you taking this against him in particular? Maybe that's why you were moderated as a troll.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33677606)

In a libertarian paradise, there wouldn't be patents on drugs. Alzhiemer's medication would cost 10% as much.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675886)

It seems like Alzheimer's research is progressing surprisingly rapidly.

Well of course it's moving quickly, this university's in a Rush.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (3, Informative)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675956)

Pratchett has early onset which tends to be faster paced.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676150)

But he actually seems in a pretty good state, as seen at the Discworld Convention a month ago. Not that nothing is happening, but the bits that make him Terry Pratchett are not being affected, and he is working round the others.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

malakai (136531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679346)

Not sure, I mean, I recently read "I Share Wear Midnight", and I felt that while writing the conclusion of the book, he forgot how he started out.

I notice a lot of writers get this way the older they get, so it may not be the disease. He may simply be so well versed in his world he takes for granted what is put on the page, versus what is in his mind.

That or evil editing deadlines.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676562)

Early onset Alzheimer is not "faster paced" than Alzheimer's in elder people. It causes an overall greater reduction of lifespan than Alzheimer's that affect elder people, because the sufferer dies relatively young, but the pace is about the same.

In any case, it's a cruel disease, because it takes from you what is the most precious: your memory and your humanity.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676074)

I think it's fair to say Alzheimer's research is getting a lot more press than it was getting even three years ago - before Sir Pterry made his announcement. He's done an enormous amount to bring Alzheimer's into the public eye, whereas previously it was the sort of thing people talked about in hushed tones when discussing the fate of an elderly relative, frequently not even daring to say "Alzheimer".

That alone has probably brought in more money for Alzheimer's research than anything else. Frankly, it's high time too. It's a cruel, cruel condition that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Not only does the sufferer slowly lose their mind, but their relatives get a ringside seat watching it happen in a sort of morbid horror show, unable to do a great deal but see the person they love die while their body keeps going.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

Chameleon Man (1304729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676906)

I certainly hope so. I don't mind dying, but the thought of slowly slipping into a state of confusion where I forget my friends and family is what I fear most.

No hope for Pratchett! (5, Insightful)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677384)

I think it is not progressing surprisingly rapidly. Because I do have a partner with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, I follow the scientic news announcements, and I have to say that this particular news announcement is like many that are made almost every month. This is only talking about a potential target. It does not even talk about a possible medicine. If a medicine is found, it usually takes at least five year before it could become available for the general public. Even if this is a valid target, it could still take several years before finding a medicine that only works on the target. So, it could still take ten years before a medicine based on this target could become available.

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive and fatal disease with an life expectancy of about 10 years after diagnoses. So, based on this facts I would conclude that this is no hope for Pratchett!

It is true that Alzheimer's Disease is now where cancer used to be fifty years ago. What many people don't know is that the total costs for Alzheimer's Disease, in the Western world, are already larger than the total costs for cancer, and are expected to rise rapidly in face of demographic developments, especially in Europe.

Re:No hope for Pratchett! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678072)

citation for the total cost?

Re:No hope for Pratchett! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678824)

It's important to point out, as you do, that Alzheimer's is not some sort of philosophically abstract thing that gently erases pieces of the mind until only a blank slate is left.

It's a physically fatal disease; one that is peculiarly painful both to the sufferer and his/her family.

One can imagine a vegetative state that is tragic but not apparently painful to the sufferer--such is the condition of people who suffer radical brain damage as a result of accidents but remain physically alive.

What Alzheimer's can do to people is much more horrible than this.

Surprisingly rapidly (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677812)

for test tubes.

Re:Hope for Pratchett? (1)

projecto2501 (260290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679102)

I work as a research coordinator on Alzheimer's clinical trials. On the one hand this has been a hard year with the announcement of the failures of Dimebond and Semagacestat. On the other hand it looks like biomarkers like PET imaging and cerebral spinal fluid proteins will help us catch the disease earlier.

The Alzheimer's Association has a new service TrialMatch (1-800-272-3900) that can put you in touch with local clinical trials. Volunteering a great way to get information about the illness, potentially help yourself and others.

I had a salient comment on this story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675844)

... but I forgot what it was.

(with my apologies for making light of a sad disease)

What a shame... (1)

Psychophrenes (1600027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675856)

They could have found a new target for Alzheimer's, but no, it had to be its evil counterpart Alzhiemer's!
Damn Alzhiemer's, hogging all our scientists' efforts...

Don't read the link, read the article (0)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675890)

The link indicates that a target is something that advances the cure. It isn't in this case, it is something that triggers the disease.

Certainly if we can trigger the disease, we can start to look at how we can prevent the disease from being triggered; but, from reading the editors "contribution", you would think they advanced the treatment side of things. They haven't (yet).

I am over moderated :) (0, Offtopic)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33675918)

Well, after I submitted and re-read the summary, it actually reads well. Good job GaryFre! Apologies for the previous complaint.

Re:Don't read the link, read the article (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677498)

Actually, I read it as the new target is someone we should be giving Alzheimer's to.

Alzhiemer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33675922)

A typo in the title, or a first sign of...

Target for Alzheimers? (0)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676000)

If they want to pick a target for Alzheimer's, target Ted Stevens. That guy is loses a part of his mind every day!

Re:Target for Alzheimers? (2, Informative)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676216)

You mean this Ted Stephens [wikipedia.org] ? The one that died in the plane crash?

Old Target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676056)

Neutral Sphingomyelinase is a well-known target in AD, with published references available throughout the 90's. Nice that they've rediscovered it, though.

Nice article (5, Informative)

mesri (993588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676296)

Pretty good article (the original in J. Neurosci). Alzheimer's has long been believed to be caused by aggregates of amyloid-beta protein, but exactly how they kill neurons (and in what stage of aggregation) has been pretty controversial. They showed a pathway from the amyloid-beta through this N-SMase to neuron death in small assemblies _and_ in larger aggregates, which should make everybody happy (or maybe no one). The important caveat though is that this was in vitro testing, and everything to do with studying Alzheimer's has been confounded by the subtle differences between in vivo and in vitro.

RE:Scientists Find New Target For Alzhiemer's (0, Flamebait)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676594)

Yeah. It's called "Old People"

NEXT.

Re:Scientists Find New Target For Alzhiemer's (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677546)

That would be an old target for alzhiemers.

A new target would be...sea bass.

Rush University?!? (0, Troll)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 3 years ago | (#33676912)

Is THAT what the big fat idiot is funding? Too late!

Isn't it convenient (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33676964)

that this is research leading to a drug that people have to take continuously, as opposed to an actual cure. I wonder if there is any significant research going on for an actual cure, or if that is seen as not profitable to pharmaceutical companies.

treating symptom or cause? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33677042)

My suspicious is these are co-symptoms of Alzheimers and not the real cause. The results may be limited.

Re:treating symptom or cause? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33678010)

Did you start to get suspicious when they said as much in the article?

bioweapon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33678208)

i wonder when the military will get the idea to use this idea as a weapon.
"hey lets build something to activate this protein, put it in their water supply and give our enemies alzheimer..."

"Cell", 17-sep-2010: it's an iron/zinc disorder (2, Informative)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679464)

The magazine 'Cell' of 17-sep-2010, published research from an Australian research group showing that the plaques are caused by a chainreaction with APP (Ameloid Precursor Protein). This is caused by Zinc-ions blocking APP from functioning, so they can't remove iron from the brain (Fe2+). The iron causes the cells to die. Also, the APP is broken down and stored as plaques. These plaques cause more zinc to stack and disable even more APP, leading to a runaway chainreaction.

note: I can't paste anything in this box or I'd post the link (Chrome is broken again or slashdot's javascript is braindead again). But do look it up. This looks like the key to the disease.

Re:"Cell", 17-sep-2010: it's an iron/zinc disorder (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#33683686)

Seems OK here:

http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(10)00938-4 [cell.com]

so... I read the summary and they don't seem to say why this extra zinc is there in disease patients.

Freud... (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33679776)

I just read "Scientists Forget New Target For Alzhiemer's"... Freudian much?

A puff a day keeps Alzheimer's away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33684160)

http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/01/27/1354225

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...