Alzheimer’s disease was first described in 1901, which means that before that the disease was extremely rare or non-existing. Just like most chronic and degenerative diseases. Nevertheless genes are blamed for this one as well. But now scientists have found an injection that stops the build-up of plaques in the brain. Well, they have worked with mice and it’s known that the results in mice are usually totally different in humans. That is the reason why you rarely hear anything anymore after the “promising results” in animals. It makes you wonder why so many lab animals need to be tortured, but that’s a different topic.
“researchers discovered that a protein called PGC1 -alpha was vital for preventing the build-up of amyloid beta plaques” Did they discover this, or did they find something that they interpreted as such? You can never know nowadays. “people with Alzheimer’s disease do not produce sufficient amounts.” So the obvious research would be focused on finding out why so many people would not produce this protein, when there wasn’t a problem 100 years ago. But that would be boring and besides it would probably lead to environmental factors and they can never be blamed for diseases.
“gene which produces the plaque-busting protein directly into the brain.” And what are the chances that this protein will bust a bit more than just the plaque? I would say this is a bit risky for someone with a brain disease.
“performed as well in memory tasks as healthy mice after four months” Four months? That sounds a very short period of time. And how many mice died from the treatment? It’s so funny that such articles never mention that. The things that went wrong are kept silent, so that the researchers can keep going till the problems become so big that they abandon the research. You can only hope that they haven’t reached the stage yet where they experiment on humans.
“Although these findings are very early they suggest this gene therapy may have potential therapeutic use for patients” Dr. Sastre, this is just another way of saying that you have no idea what the results mean and that they are likely useless. Can you come back when you have something useful to show? This kind of useless publishing is the result of a system where the reputation of a researcher depends on the amount of publications, not the quality of the research. Everything gets published and nobody cares that the information is completely useless. When a year later it appears that the findings were incorrect nothing happens with the original publications. They count towards the total number anyway.
“The team used a type of modified virus to deliver a gene to brain cells.” An injection with a modified virus into the brain. I can imagine that most people would not like this idea. The list of things that can go wrong is endless. “It is being used in experiments to treat a range of conditions from arthritis to cancer.” And professor Mazarakis, what were the results of the experiments? As you don’t say that you have successfully used this technique I can only assume that it was a failure. Oops. “successfully used the lentivirus vector in clinical trials to deliver genes into the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients.” No professor, I didn’t mean that. What was the result of the treatment? Did these people recover from the disease? As you don’t mention that, the results must have been bad. Else you would be very proud of the results.
“There are currently no treatments able to halt the progression of damage in Alzheimer’s,” Well, there are treatments available and some have had remarkable results, but you won’t find those in a conventional medical practice. That’s not the same as that there are none. Scientists have a habit of mixing these two up.
“This research takes a new approach to tackling the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s disease” Wait a moment, dr. Brown. You say that you know what causes the disease? Then why not removing the cause? That sounds like a much better idea than injections into the brain. The problem is that you have no idea about the cause, isn’t it? You just focus on the plaques and anything that can remove the plaques must be effective. As long you keep focusing on that you will never find a good treatment.
The biggest problem in any kind of Alzheimer’s research is that everyone focuses on the plaques. But it is known that many older people have these plaques, without the cognitive problems. Which means that most probably the two are unrelated. Do I have plaques in my brain? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe these things come and go and the older you get, the more they come and the less they go. It might be something similar as that old age usually comes with less supple muscles and the need for reading glasses. Doctors and scientists very consistently ignore everything that goes against their theories. If someone with a sharp mind gets a brain scan and shows plaques, this will be ignored. But most healthy people don’t get these scans, so nobody knows what their brains look like. And brain autopsies are hardly a standard procedure after someone died from old age. So maybe 90% of the old people have these plaques. Maybe 100%. We just don’t know. And without this vital information any theory is useless. But useless theories have never stopped scientists from doing more research. Especially medical scientists keep going on forever, even when they never get any results. So why these people have a reputation for doing important work is way beyond my understanding. I think they should better get a job and contribute something to society.