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Alzheimer's Could Be a Third Form of Diabetes

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-forget-why dept.

Biotech 251

Atzanteol writes "Insulin, it turns out, may be as important for the mind as it is for the body. Research in the last few years has raised the possibility that Alzheimer's memory loss could be due to a novel third form of diabetes. Scientists at Northwestern University have discovered why brain insulin signaling — crucial for memory formation — would stop working in Alzheimer's disease."

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251 comments

First ? (5, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820789)

What was I doing?

Re:First ? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20820825)

No, I am first. Who am I?

Another kdawson - Sky-COULD-BE-falling story (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821453)

The world COULD end tomorrow, you say? No shit. You COULD get a brain by then, but that is extremely unlikely to be true. COULD BE, you say? No shit.

You too, Zonk

Re:Another kdawson - Sky-COULD-BE-falling story (0, Offtopic)

asCii88 (1017788) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821517)

Homer is not a communist.
My Homer may be a liar, a pig, an iditot, a communist, but he is NOT a pornographer.

Re:Another kdawson - Sky-COULD-BE-falling story (-1, Offtopic)

hoooocheymomma (1020927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821565)

how is quoting Abraham Simpson a troll? Is abraham simpson taboo on slashdot?

Re:Another kdawson - Sky-COULD-BE-falling story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20822211)

Maybe because it was a misquote. Abe Simpson says "porn star" not "pornographer".

Solution! KDAWSON is a FUDGEPACKER! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821817)

He puts 'pwned' in the title. What kind of journalism is this? Some eighty-year-old idiot named KDAWSON--a pencilneck--has no idea how to write anything but a VB script. Good day, sir.

Hopefully, I will have already wasted a modpoint by the time that KDAWSON could have come and smote me with his infinite modpointdom.

I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes news. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20820851)

Will people stop saying that diabetes is caused by consuming too much sugar?

As a developer and student, I consume eight liters of Mountain Dew a day and I have no diabetes problems.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820901)

As a developer and student, I consume eight liters of Mountain Dew a day and I have no diabetes problems.

You're not a developer and student, that was 60 years ago. It's now 2067.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (0, Offtopic)

devoss (717340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821717)

i wish i could mod this comment higher than 5 funny... best /. comment of the week.
/applaud

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (2)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821749)

Are you that misinformed about the disease...its like saying i slept with
150 women already, so there is no aids if i didnt get it yet....talk about ignorant.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (3, Informative)

lightversusdark (922292) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820905)

I thought that it was not sugar so much as Phenylalanine [wikipedia.org]
The way I've heard it, "Diet" versions of soft drinks are more likely to cause the onset of Type-B (adult) diabetes, through their containing aspartame and other sugar substitutes which can in the long term affect the way you process sugars.

Who knows? There's a warning on all drinks that contain a source of phenylalanine, in the UK at least.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (4, Interesting)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821103)

I'm actively trying to avoid the stuff for some time now, but wow: it's almost everywhere! Even in some yogurts..

Minimized sugar intake in general as well.. and I'm haven't had a cup of coffee since May... and I'm still productive as a programmer. ;D

After the initial, small withdrawal symptoms I'm feeling lot better too. My focus is sharper and I'm feeling more creative too.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (2, Funny)

Pogue Mahone (265053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821191)

My focus is sharper and I'm feeling more creative too.

Nah! You just *think* you are ;-)

Sez Dave, who also hasn't touched coffee for a while but drinks gallons of tea instead.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821415)

Caffeine DO make you more tired in total, even if it does increase your energy during some time.

I'll keep drinking my 8-10 cups of tea each day thought.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821607)

I switched to herbal teas. if you want a stimulant some out there make the best strong coffee look like baby formula in strength. if you only consume stimulant in the AM only, cut off all use after 10am you will be fine. Being mostly sugar free is easy. the only places where I cheat is pure maple syrup, Honey, Mead, and Hard Cider.. the real stuff(9-10% alcohol) not the girly cider you get in the stores. Honestly one of the better things you can do as well is any grains you eat, only eat whole grains. upping your fiber intake helps quite a bit as well. a single 100% whole wheat slice of bread with 100% natural peanut butter can tide you over for hours. while the sugar crap peanut-butter and white bread will need 4 slices in 2 sandwiches to give you the same energy dosage after the sugar is burned.

Finally coffee is not a bad thing. if you think you have to have a pound of sugar and a quart of cream in your coffee then you are drinking bad coffee. unsweetened black coffee can be an incredibly pleasurable experience. find some roasted cocoa beans to add to the grounds as well and it become and incredible drink.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822067)

What does coffee have to do with it? Whoa, you freaked me out for a second; I thought they'd finally found the killer drawback to my dark java mistress. Since I drink mine black, I don't have to worry about cancer (or diabetes) inducing sugars being involved. If I die, it'll be by caffeine alone.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822207)

"What does coffee have to do with it?"

That was mentioned in a more general line: that you can cut back/step away from stuff.. even if it seems near impossible when you think about it at first. I thought Coffee was a good example given the audience of this site. ;)

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821321)

There's a warning on all drinks that contain a source of phenylalanine, in the UK at least.

The warning's in the US too. The reason for it is because of a genetic mutation that makes some people unable to metabolize the stuff properly [wikipedia.org] , otherwise, it's considered an essential amino acid [wikipedia.org] , although it's primary role in humans is to produce tyrosine, which could be obtained directly from diet.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (4, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821387)

The warning are for people who react bad on phenylalanine, the reason most people react weird on sugarfree stuff are probably do to the sugar alcohols thought which makes your stomach and guts act weird =P (I can't understand why that shit is use, something like 240 kcal/100g compared to 420 of sugar but it's less sweet so it probably have around the same sweetness/kcal. Sure it's better for your teeths but who cares.)

I doubt aspartame affect it, it doesn't raise insulin levels, acesulfame-k does if I remember right and they both come together. But it still doesn't do it close to what real carbs would do.

Fructose metabolism skips one step in the body somehow so that's not good for it atleast, so all that high fructose corn syrup you americans have in your soft drinks won't help. Sure there are some fructose in fruits aswell (together with regular saccarose and glucose) but atleast then you get other good stuff aswell with it. So I don't suggest not eating fruit because some of the sugars aren't that great, but why eat the sugar alone?

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (4, Informative)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821133)

That's like saying "I smoke 20 a day, and I don't have cancer" ... yet. But you have increased your risk of getting it. A lot.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (2, Informative)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821221)

You are confusing 'anecdote' with 'data'. They are two vastly different things.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821769)

You are confusing 'anecdote' with 'data'. They are two vastly different things.
The plural of "anecdote" is "data"!

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821411)

do you also weigh 400lb and have no teeth?

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821525)

Waaah. drink water or switch to tea instead, there are a crapload of great stimulating drinks that are incredibly low sugar. Some teas out there make Mountian Dew look like wimpy girly juice in the amount of caffeine and stimulants. I have a tea for the morning that makes strong coffee look silly. if you are in a college town all this stuff is easy to find.

Why is it that many of our college educated are incredibly dense when it comes to common sense? high sugar diet is bad for you, kick your addiction and switch to something better.

Re:I hope not... I'm getting tired of diabetes new (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821973)


Will people stop saying that diabetes is caused by consuming too much sugar?

As a developer and student, I consume eight liters of Mountain Dew a day and I have no diabetes problems.


If you don't have the diabetes gene, sugar won't cause diabetes. But if you
do have the diabetes gene, then consuming a lot of refined carbohydrates combined
with Insulin Resistance will push you to diabetes much faster. Sugar is one type
of refined carbs.

To give an example, if you have insulin resistance but are on a moderate carb diet,
then it may take you a long time (10-15 years) to become diet. OTOH, with
insulin resistance, if you are on a high carb diet especially with a lot of
refined carbs, you will get diabetic in 3-5 years.

You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (5, Insightful)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821239)

You make new friends every day!

Haha, "New friends every day." Get it?! LOL.

It's not so funny when it happens to you or your family. Wait until someone you know gets it. You won't be laughing anymore.

Haha, that guy has a limp. Haha, that woman is blind. Haha, that kid is retarded. Hahaha. Fucking hilarious.

Whatever you do, don't get Alzheimer's disease. It sucks.

My grandmother just turned 94 and has advanced Alzheimer's disease. She can barely walk anymore. I devote a few hours of my life every single day to caregiving. If you've never known someone like this, you really have no idea what's involved. Yeah, we could put her in a home. We could watch her die sooner that way, wearing diapers and ceaselessly, hopelessly calling out for someone to please take her home. As it is now, she wears diapers, but at least we always change them. In nursing homes, they don't.

Have you ever had someone you know and love, who helped raise you and even changed *your* diapers and then helped teach you how to count and how to read and how to do puzzles and math and typing and how to play games, who taught you the names of the plants that grow out in the back yard? And now she can smile and say "Hello", and tell you to get the hell out because she don't know who you are a moment later?

That's Alzheimer's. You can be helping to manage her most intimate financial affairs completely honestly, you can be doing her laundry and getting her medicine and bringing her groceries and cooking her meals and washing her dishes and vacuuming her floors and helping her get to the doctor and even wiping her ass, when she cannot do it herself anymore, and yet she'll still tell you she loves you one night, and the next morning she wants you to go away, go to hell, or just please, please take her home. Because she doesn't know what home means anymore. She's already at home, and she doesn't know who you are anymore.

She knows what she knew in 1920 or 1930 sometimes, funny stories she can still tell sometimes, but she mixes up everyone's names; she doesn't know who is who anymore. She used to speak three languages, English, German, and French. But now she often speaks gibberish, a weird combination of whatever words she still can recall. She can't always understand simple sentences. She's like a kid who cannot learn.

Alzheimer's sucks; nursing homes suck. Go visit one someday if you doubt me. My grandmother's genes and her circumstances allowed her to outlive two of her children. She never got cancer, but that's what killed her elder son at 50. She had a heart attack thirty years ago, but she didn't die of heart disease. That's what killed her elder daughter at 60. Yet my grandmother lives on, as her mind slowly disintegrates.

She still likes to watch children playing, or to meet a drooling baby, maybe a child of someone who helps care for her, brought over to visit. She still likes to pet her cats and smile and watch them roll on the floor with catnip at her feet, she still can interface with her two grandchildren, she still has a sense of humor that we all can understand and sometimes laugh about together.

She doesn't know what year it is or what day it is, and sometimes she can't remember how to properly hold a spoon (or she'll try drinking from it like a straw). But she especially likes bananas and squash and sweet potatoes and chocolate chip cookies. I know this because I'm there sometimes to remind her to take another bite. She says "This is good, thank you!"

And sometimes when you help lift her into bed at night, she'll tell you she loves you. I guess that helps make it all worthwhile.

Anyway, this is what will happen to you if you don't die of anything else or get hit by a bus before your brain starts to degrade. I suppose it hasn't been all bad, I have learned a lot caring for my grandmother. But she is no longer able to offer her opinion. [yeah, it's my own copypasta, but it's relevant]

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821317)

You can also hide your own easter eggs.

Yes, I've had family with the disease. Yes it's depressing to watch.

I also joke with my mother about her cancer. Being able to laugh at such things isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (5, Insightful)

kooky45 (785515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821331)

That's the saddest, most frightening, and heart warming post of any kind I've read for years, certainly on /. CmdrTaco should put it in the all time top 100 to remind people there's more to life, and death, than technology.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (4, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821357)

You know, pretty much all humor will offend someone if they're in a place to be offended.

Because you know me so well, I won't tell you about my great grandmother's last years or about her daughter who's getting to that age now.

Bottom line, if writing this helps you get by, then bring it on.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

cibyr (898667) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821389)

Not just every day. I "met" my girlfriend's uncle (who I had known for over a year) twice in the space of a couple of hours. He gets lost in his own home and asks where my girlfriend is (she moved out two years ago).

What's worse is his wife is still in denial about it and is caring for him and her father pretty much on her own.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (2, Interesting)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821423)

IAAMN (I am a male nurse) and I treat people with varying degrees of dementia (some caused by Alzheimer's) every day and I know how sad it is to see their condition degrading, which sometimes happens very rapidly. Your story about your grandmother is for me "just another day at work".

Anyway, I just cannot get my mind wrapped around the idea of a nursing home where the staff doesn't even change patients diapers as it is a normal procedure for me with most of my patients, normally at least twice per shift. Is this normal in nursing homes in your country?

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821741)

From my perspective the quality of nursing home care is variable. Some are very well managed and give excellent care and some are awful. If you are looking for tell tale signs, visit a few and see what goes on. Smell the air. If you are smelling stale urine, move on.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822153)

"Twice per shift" is not the same as "when needed".
Or, to translate to geek speak, it's not the frequency that sucks, it's the latency.

As long as nursing staff have to schedule things and the patients can't adjust to a fixed schedule, their need is not met 100%. That's not a criticism of the nurses and aides, who tend to be very fine people doing the best they can, but it's just that the best they can isn't optimal.

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

eam (192101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821467)

> It's not so funny when it happens to you or your family.
> Wait until someone you know gets it. You won't be laughing anymore.

Actually, it was still funny. Heartbraking, sad, and still funny.

If you can't laugh at the funny parts, you'll go nuts. Perhaps it's too late. Maybe you should unclench and try to see the humor.

I'll never forget the last conversation I had with my grandmother. I was home from school and working in my parent's yard.

G: What are you up to?

M: Planting some flowers for Mom.

G: How're you doing in school?

M: Pretty good. One more year to go.

G: Are you enjoying it?

M: Yeah.

[pause]

G: So, what are you up to?

M: Um, planting flowers for mom.

G: How're you doing in school? ...

It was the easiest conversation I ever had.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

eam (192101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821473)

Err... s/brak/break/

Sorry, forgot how to spell...

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821573)

Hey. Good luck to you and your family. My father passed away from COPD in 2000, after a long illness. It's rough. I don't have any recommendations to offer. Sorry. There's nothing to recommend. Just some support.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

rve (4436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821583)

My grandmother lived for another decade after altzheimers disease had destroyed her ability to speak or to recognise her family. A wonderful, sweet and graceful lady reduced to a frightened, screaming animal.

I was weak and useless kid and couldn't bear visiting her anymore during the last few years of her life.

When I'm diagnosed with altzheimers, I will take up skydiving.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822025)

We have a deal in our family - anyone gets anywhere near as bad as our aunt, just "take us behind the barn and shoot us."

Or give us the means to "do it ourselves". We'll have a big going-away party ahead of time, and another one (a wake) after the deed is done.

Why people insist on prolonging the inevitable is beyond me. We let what's left of old people rattle around in their empty heads, but we wouldn't let the family dog suffer nearly as much.

Once the brain is gone, they're dead. The body might still function, more or less, but the person is gone. Show some compassion, stop being so selfish ("I don't want to lose them") and do the right thing; put what's left out of its misery, and end the suffering of everyone else around them.

And don't give me any of that "life is sacred" crap. When the brain is gone, they're gone. The rest is just an empty shell. That's not life.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821947)

I feel for you. God damn, my grandfather is starting to deteriorate, and I see bits of this in him. But he's nowhere near as bad as your grandmother seems.

I hope everything goes well for you in the future.

Re:You know what's great about Alzheimer's? (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822147)

This reply has no other purpose than to tell you what you already know--that you are doing a good thing. Your next-to-last paragraph contains the truth: Somewhere, in some part of her mind and brain, she still does love you.

Re:First ? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821335)

It's not only short term memory loss which is the problem. I don't know how far my dad have gone but he got rather upset when he couldn't figure out what way to turn the batteries in a flashlight, forgot where to put the keys in the car (yeah, you should drive then!), can't dress himself, can't "see"/find stuff sometimes, forget the way to the toilet.

And at those times you are still clear enough to know what you are doing and that you failed, and that there will only be worse things to come.

It must be so fucking annoying, insulting, life value lowering, depressive shit.

Regarding this diabetes stuff (I haven't read TFA yet) my dad don't eat that good things but what is worse if that he have had an early retirement for quite long time so he doesn't do much and don't meet much people (not me either) so lately he's just been setting at home in front of the TV or maybe outside in the yarden but no taking walks or so. So both to little stuff to do for his mind and for his body.

But then he was a carpenter so he have had his dose of sawing those plates with arsenic in them, lacquer, painting, thinner, that shit you had in railroad wood pieces to make them not rotten and similair stuff and I guess those atleast doesn't improve the situation.

Avoid Alazheimers (4, Informative)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820835)

Be conscientious!! [bbc.co.uk]

Suggestions for who is at risk follow.... :-)

Re:Avoid Alazheimers (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820909)

On the other hand, if you completely ignore self-discipline, alzheimers won't really change your way of life.
Oh well, I'd better get back to.. .. .. whatever i was doing..

Ooooh, a shiny new game!

Re:Avoid Alazheimers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20820949)

WTF is up with the claims that sugar causes diabetes?

As a student, I drink eight liters of Mountain Dew a day and I have no problems!

Re:Avoid Alazheimers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821895)

Meh, it's hard to know if trying to force yourself to be more conscientious would help at all. People that are pre-wired as conscientious may also be pre-wired to have less instances of dementia and there is no amount of self-discipline that is going to re-wire your brain.

Hmm (4, Informative)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820895)

At Best Buy the other day (hate the store, but no Fry's around here), saw that they were selling "Alzheimer" brand memory sticks.

While I understand (upon doing a double take and inspecting the package) that it is meant to support an Alzheimer association, I can't help but think that it's not a good marketing combination.

That said, I have diabetes from one grandfather and Alzheimers from my grandma, both of my dad's parents... crap.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820925)

If you want to avoid dementia (who doesn't) then the best advice is to simply to eat healthily and be socially and physically active. The strongest known modifiable risk factors for dementia are poor midlife health (obesity, vascular disease, blood pressure, diabetes etc), low education and low social activity. This is especially important if you have a genetic susceptibility.

Re:Hmm (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821075)

I think it could be hard to prove that there's a link to low education. How do you prove something's getting stupider when he already starts pretty low?

Not to say that all people without good education have an IQ room temperature, but ya know, there is a certain undenyable correlation...

Re:Hmm (4, Informative)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821139)

You're right, it is hard. Especially because of the link between low education, underlying intelligence and subsequent occupation and lifestyle. Also, as you point out, the instruments for detecting cognitive decline must be sensitive to eduction, and one current method is to use a educationally-adjusted cut-off on the cognition scales.

Having said all of this the evidence for a link to education after taking all of the above into account is pretty compelling and is no longer disputed. The mechanism for this though is still unclear, and there's certainly no evidence that playing 'brain training' games can in any way make up for it. The current best theory that we have is that people who are better educated have better 'cognitive reserve', by which we mean the ability for the brain to re-wire itself and compensate when a disease like AD occurs.

Re:Hmm (-1, Troll)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821157)

The strongest known modifiable risk factors for dementia are poor midlife health (obesity, vascular disease, blood pressure, diabetes etc), low education and low social activity.


Honestly where do you people come up with this stuff? Low education and low SOCIAL activity? It's pretty clear from such a comment that you have no scientific backing to what you are saying. I hope to god you are not in a position where you give people actual medical advice. Giving false medical advice on slashdot is bad enough already.

Re:Hmm (3, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821219)

What's your problem with this finding? Fine, you can't sell social activity as a treatment so pharma isn't interested, but there is huge amounts of reliable evidence that being socially active helps prevent dementia. Its a pretty easy thing to prospectively measure too.

Put 'social activity' and 'dementia' into Google Scholar and see what you come up with. And do that in future before you start trolling. Some medical science on here isn't all that good, but most of it is pretty sound.

(I should point out that as I post this I am also writing a commentary on risk factors for AD for the American Psychiatric Association. So I do not usually give medical advice, but I do advise the people that do.)

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821653)

Best bet on here when posting information like the above is to also post links to references. Yep, most of us can look it up ourselves, but the vocal minority would rather assume otherwise.

Re:Hmm (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822181)

there is huge amounts of reliable evidence that being socially active helps prevent dementia
Does posting on slashdot count?


</hopeful>

Re:Hmm (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822199)

What's your problem with this finding? Fine, you can't sell social activity as a treatment so pharma isn't interested


Finding? Perhaps you should reread those studies. Your wording implies that having low social activity in your midlife period increases the risk factor of dementia.

1) Studies done to show correlation between social activity and dementia are done on the elderly not on midlife people.
2) The studies deal with social AND leisure(ie gardening/knitting) activities. Adding a quantifier like "low" and assuming that the social side is the significant one is just a wild ass guess on your part.

Suggesting someone of 30~40 years of age is increasing the risk factor of dementia by having low social activity and tossing in "low education" on top of that is utterly preposterous. I'm sure I'll get troll modded again for speaking the voice of reason against someone spouting the usual "live healthy" line but someone needs to say it. If you want to find a logical finding out of those studies I suggest you consider that what MIGHT be a risk factor is low mental activity later in life.

Re:Hmm (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821793)

That said, I have diabetes from one grandfather and Alzheimers from my grandma, both of my dad's parents... crap.
That's what the diapers are for.

The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (5, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820911)

Currently, there are a number of trials of therapies that target amyloid ß proteins. Some are on the verge of phase III testing approval by the FDA. We may soon be looking at the end of Alzheimer's as a life destroying disease.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (4, Interesting)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821019)

Could you please provide some pointers. My wife is suffering from Early-Onset Alzheimers disease and is still in the early stages of the disease. I am not asking for a cure, only something that could stabilize her current state.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (5, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821345)

Eli Lily's LY450139, and Wyeth/Elan's Bapineuzamab, are working on trial protocols, and should be starting phase III trials in the next few months. Calling their headquarters may provide information on how to apply for the trials. You may also be able to find information at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ [clinicaltrials.gov]

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (3, Informative)

Frans Faase (648933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821615)

I understand that the results for the phase II trials for Bapineuzumab are only due next year. I also understand that in the past trials where stopped because of life threatening complications.

LY411575 also seems to be associated with side effects. Two patients where withdrawn during a trial in 2004.

From this, I conclude that we are not close to a safe medication to cure Alzheimer's Disease in the near future. All medications that have been developed sofar only show a delay in the development of the disease in a part of the patients. One should realize that the cause and the mechanism behind Alzheimer's Disease are not very well understood and that there are competing theories, where "Alzheimer's Could Be a Third Form of Diabetes" is just one of them.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821875)

I'm sure that almost any treatment would have side effects, some of which may be very serious in some patients. Chemotherapy kills people, but if they'd die from the cancer anyhow it can be worth a calculated risk. Right now, Alzheimer's is terminal and the damage is irreversible (ie, letting a patient wait a few more years to see if we get a better treatment may very well render them untreatable) - I would be surprised if severe side effects in a very small minority of patients (in other words, two out of how many?) prevented a treatment from getting through.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (1)

aldheorte (162967) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821935)

It sounds like you have a capability for doing research and a very good reason to be passionate about finding a solution. So why don't you? I'm not saying that you open your own lab and start conducting medical trials, but gathering all all the scientific papers, analyzing them closely, understanding all that they are talking about, and writing your own meta analysis could be helpful if done in a scientific way. Form an online community of like thinkers, not those just desperately searching for a cure, but those willing to put in the hard work of collating and correlating research information. I reject the 'we'll wait on the experts to come up with a solution approach' and it's a lot healthier to do what you are doing, which is actively seeking information, than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself or someone you love who is affected.

Some will say it's not possible to learn all the math and biochemistry involved. That's only true in the immediate sense. Properly driven, anyone can learn anything given enough time. Even if you don't have experimental facilities, coming up with the proposed hypotheses and the protocol is a significant part of the effort for any study. It is admittedly unlikely that you alone will find a cure, but the more people like you, the faster one will be found.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821077)

Except FDA is suppost to approve new drugs within six months of the New Drug Application is filed. According to http://www.allp.com/drug_dev.htm/ [allp.com] "the average NDA review time for new molecular entities approved in 1992 was 29.9 months." What really is needed is a new schedule of drug testing for those who are in the last stages of terminal illness.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821097)

You know, this is one of the few occasions where I kinda worry about the lengthy process of getting drugs past the FDA. While I generally agree with a good and through testing of medication (hey, it's my life we're talking here!), and it should be tougher (much tougher!) for a lot of unnecessary and non-life saving drugs, I dunno if I would mind being a guinea pig when the choice is only to maybe die from the drug or certainly from the disease.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821695)

I dunno if I would mind being a guinea pig when the choice is only to maybe die from the drug or certainly from the disease.

If my understanding is correct, Alzheimer's is a lot worse than that.

You don't generally die of it.

You die because you're generally also fairly frail and you had a nasty fall because your co-ordination isn't so good any more. In doing so you broke a bone and were in the awkward position of being too frail to operate on and too badly hurt to leave alone.

Re:The Bleeding edge of Alzheimer's research (1)

Internalist (928097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821657)

My (admittedly limited) understanding of current Alzheimer's research is that the jury is still out on whether or not there's any solid proof of the relevance of amyloid plaques. I've been told (by a neuro prof who's actively involved) that there are people who have the plaques and no symptoms at all, and people who have symptoms and not the plaques. That seems like a pretty solid falsification of a hypothesis, in my book (not that I'm convinced that a Popperian approach is the right way to do science).

Smoking? (3, Interesting)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820959)

I've heard rumours that smoking drives down the possibility
of brain-related diseases (alzheimers(sp?), parkinsons).

Anyone care to comment?

Re:Smoking? (1)

Burb (620144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820977)

Maybe because smoking decreases your life expectancy so you don't get old enough to get dementia? OK, this is an uninformed comment (IANA medical researcher) but I suspect it has a grain of truth.

Re:Smoking? (4, Interesting)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821021)

The previous comments, that smoking causes a 'differential mortality' that biassed the early studies are basically right. The current consensus, based on prospective studies that do not suffer from these problems is that smoking slightly raises your risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Smoking is also a major risk factor for stroke and other vascular disease, that lead to 'multi-infarct' or 'vascular' dementia, which accounts for just as many dementia cases as AD. So to help avoid dementia, give up smoking.

Re:Smoking? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821027)

Smoking what? Pole?

Re:Smoking? (0, Redundant)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821087)

You know, I would've had a terribly cynical joke related to the lack of chance to get it due to dying earlier, but I can't make it now without being modded redundant.

Re:Smoking? (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822171)

You know, I would've had a terribly cynical joke related to the lack of chance to get it due to dying earlier, but I can't make it now without being modded redundant.

Congratulations! Those with mod points have decided to take pity on you and have hooked you up with redundancy even without you making the joke. Bravo!

Re:Smoking? (1)

DamienRBlack (1165691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821111)

Yes, smoking drives down the possibility... by increasing the chance that you die before they set in. You should give stunt motorcycling a try, it drastically reduces the odds that you'll get a brain-related disease.

Re:Smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20821197)

So it's brain-damage vs brain-related disease..

*ponders*

Re:Smoking? (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821123)

Studies about this give WIDELY different results, with the most significant correlation being whether the funder of the study is an anti-smoking organization or not.
Cutting through the propaganda from both sides by comparing various Alzheimer's Disease (AD) studies and how they were done, it appears to me that:

Compared to people who have never smoked,
Previous smokers may have an increased risk of AD.
Smokers without the APOE-4 gene may have an equal risk of AD.
Smokers with the APOE-4 gene may have a lessened risk of AD.

For people who have already contracted AD, tobacco use may lessen the symptoms.

The positive or negative effects may not be due to nicotine; studies on just nicotine appear to disagree (what a shocker!) and be more inconclusive than thosed based on tobacco use.

There's plenty of research material out there on the web. Just don't believe any one study, because they conflict quite a bit. In particular, pay attention to whether "non-smoker" and "smoker" excludes or includes previous smokers or users of other forms of tobacco, and ask yourself why. In many cases, the classification appears to be selected to support the desired result.
Also, some of the studies appear to use cherry-picked subjects, like men who are former war veterans (and thus likely to have a bunch of diseases related to that) or people from groups that have special lifestyles (like adventists who neither smoke nor eat much meat).
In other words, be skeptical, follow the money trail, and don't believe the first study you see.

what was the question again .. ? (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821225)

"I've heard rumours that smoking drives down the possibility of brain-related diseases (alzheimers(sp?), parkinsons)"

was: Re:Smoking?

Yes, it's true. (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821529)

Simple. Smoking shortens average life expectancy, therefor moving you into a different scale for average chance of getting Alzheimer or Parkinsons.

Suicide also seems to drive down your chances of getting Alzheimer...

Re:Smoking? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821639)

From what [wisegeek.com] I have read [newstarget.com] , there are no conclusive data that link Alzheimer's and smoking, and a according to a recent study pointed by that second link, there was a study debunking the studies that said smoking prevents Alzheimer's.

FWIW, my mother works in a nursing home and says that half of the Alzheimer's patients smoke and half don't, but that's, of course, hardly a representative sample.

Other new scientific research on Alzheimers (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20820981)

Just say this article [bbc.co.uk] on the BBC.
According to the article:

The Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined nearly 1,000 Catholic nuns, priests and brothers. Those who rated themselves highly conscientious had an 89% lower risk of Alzheimer's than those who thought they were the least self-disciplined. The study appears in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

Not to be a nitpicker... (5, Interesting)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821009)

Technically, wouldn't Alzheimer's be the Fourth type of Diabetes.

Type 1, Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (alias "Juvenile Diabetes")

Type 2, Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (alias "adult-onset diabetes")

(Type 3) Gestational Diabetes

(Type 4, implied by TFA) Alzheimer's

As a side note, this comment was posted by a Type 1 diabetic.

Re:Not to be a nitpicker... (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821235)

There are almost 60 subtypes of diabetes, according to the latest studies. Although for convenience we like to keep them in two major groups.

Do try to keep up with the times.

Re:Not to be a nitpicker... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821361)

Also, while the "root cause" might be insulin-related in Alzheimer's, the end symptom does not include elevated bloodsugars, which cause frequent urination. Thus Alzheimer's is NOT another form of diabetes, even if it is somehow affected by insulin, as frequent urination does not occur.

The term Diabetes originates from the Greek word for "to pass through" or "to siphon", referring to one of the most obvious symptoms of elevated bloodsugar, frequent urination. Also, there are forms of diabetes that do not even involve insulin and elevated bloodsugars.

I know of at least two very general categories of diabetes:

Diabetes Mellitus - Often referred to simply as diabetes, and "diabetes" without a qualifying term is generally accepted to mean DM. In DM, when excessive urination occurs, it is always laden with sugar due to elevated bloodsugar. All of the categories of diabetes listed above are variants of DM.

Diabetes Insipidus - Characterized by excessive urination without elevated levels of sugar in the urine. It is diabetes, yet has nothing to do with blood sugar levels or insulin malfunctions.

So while Alzheimer's may be caused by some sort of insulin malfunction, it is not diabetes, as the defining symptom of diabetes is not present.

(Posted by another Type I)

"diabetes" overused (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821485)

"Diabetes" is way too over-used. One type is (seemingly) an immune disorder, requires many injections per day, can kill in an hour, requires all sorts of monitoring. Another type is (seemingly) due to self-neglect, requires some tablets and some monitoring. Another type (which I don't know much about at all, if it is another "type") is triggered by pregnancy, and now a forth is really just seemingly about the same chemical in the body, but has almost completely different causes and effects. Yes, there's some memory loss in other forms of diabetes... but, why combine all these under one name? It can only lead to confusion for patients and carers. Seems to me that they're trying to jump on the well-established funding for diabetes research.

Re:"diabetes" overused (1)

Sax Maniac (88550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822155)

(The third would be gestational, and typically goes away after pregnancy, but not always. My grandmother was gestational, but it turned into Type 1 afterwards. My wife had it, but recovered.)

The naming is unfortunate. My 4-year old son has type 1, and the first thing people think when hearing it is that he ate too much sugar or is a fat couch potato. He's skinny as a rail, rarely eats junk (we never let him, even before diagnosis), and active as any healthy 4-year old.

We can chalk that up to the naming of the disease by symptom (elevated blood glucose) and poor news reporting that doesn't distinguish between the types. But diabetes is a very old disease - the ancient Greeks knew how to diagnose it by, of all things, tasting the patient's urine for sugar. It was named long before they actually knew what the separate causes were.

Even type 2 isn't caused by self-neglect, although there is a correlation with obesity. There millions of fat people without diabetes -- that alone breaks causation.

Re:Not to be a nitpicker... (1)

RendonWI (958388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821601)

There is also what they call type 1.5. This presents alot like type 2, but quickly turns to type 1. IIRC the former Surgeon General had this type. So alzheimers would be type 5 really. As a side note this was posted by a person married to a Type 1 diabetic. As another side note we are getting the new CGMS for my wife some time next week, and my insurance covers it at 90%!

This just really irrates me (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821101)

Klein, Grant A. Krafft, formerly at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and now chief scientific officer at Acumen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Caleb E. Finch, professor of biological sciences and gerontology at the University of Southern California, reported the discovery of ADDLs in 1998. Krafft is a co-author of the FASEB Journal paper. Northwestern and USC hold joint patents on the composition and use of ADDLs in neurodisorders.

The patent rights have been licensed to Acumen Pharmaceuticals, based in South San Francisco, for the development of drugs that treat Alzheimer's disease and other memory-related disorders.
OK, a patent on a drug that suppresses ADDLs, sure, fine. But a patent on the mechanism/process of how stuff works in the biological world? WTF? Have you read my patent for "A Method and Process for Turning Water, Sunlight and Carbon Dioxide into Glucose and Oxygen"? Gimme a break.

Re:This just really irrates me (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821187)

And next thing you know there will be patents on human genes. Oh wait a minute, we already have those too.

Patents on human genes [nationalgeographic.com]

Re:This just really irrates me (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821247)

For a fairly entertaining, albeit over-the-top reading on that subject, you might consider picking up 'Next', by Michael Crichton

Here's a drug that might help... (-1, Troll)

F34nor (321515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20821531)

Its called the STOP EATING REFINED SUGARS drug you fat pasty corn surup drinking monkeys. Sugar is horribly bad for you. It makes you fatter than eating fat. We need to train our kids that if its sweet you should spit it out. I figure the combination of candy and Syrup of ipecac should do the trick.

Re:Here's a drug that might help... (1)

Wildfire Darkstar (208356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20822093)

Trolling aside, I'm not sure that'd have any effect.

Type 2 diabetes (by far the most common) is associated with obesity and overconsumption of refined sugars. This does not apply to other types of the syndrome. For example, type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes) is not. Though ultimately the effects are similar, both do very different things. Roughly speaking, type 2 diabetics develop a resistance to insulin, but their bodies may still produce it. Type 1 diabetics don't necessarily develop that resistance, but lose the cells that produce insulin in the first place. There's no known medical way to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes: it's just the luck of the draw, genetically.

The article in question doesn't go into many details, but I'm not sure I'd put money down on a direct correlation between unhealthy eating and Alzheimer's. Considering the amount of attention on Alzheimer's, I'd be rather surprised that such a correlation had not been discovered before now, anecdotally if nothing else.
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