Two processes that work in unison… maybe?
In the previous chapter, I’ve explained the medical profession’s understanding and thoughts of the most common Dementia, Alzheimer’s, where the Amyloid-Beta comes from, how it forms into plaques and eventually causes brain cell death.
However, ever since the first mention of Alzheimer’s in 1910, a dominant line of research has been undertaken, and that has been the removal of the Amyloid-Beta Plaques. No effective treatment, chemical or otherwise, has so far been found! There is no definitive answer to a cause for Alzheimer’s, but the best guess is based on research and studies to date.
The conventional drugs used with dementia patients are symptomatic treatments like pain killers and fever-reducing drugs. They do not address the cause of the problem. The available medicines work by attempting to stimulating the remaining brain cells to work more efficiently. These have no impact on the build-up of the Amyloid Beta Plaques and only a short term aid. Like sticking a plaster on a broken leg.
There is another drug being researched and tested called Aducanumab. Aducanumab is a new disease-modifying drug. It works on the development of Alzheimer’s itself by removing the Amyloid-Beta.
Aducanumab is a drug that uses the body’s immune system. This drug binds with the Amyloid-Beta, and then the immune system sees it as a foreign body and deals with it. It is thought that messages between brain cells will function as they should by removing the Amyloid-Beta Plaques.
Cognitive function has not been seen to improve, but it has been shown to stay at pre-treatment levels.
Typically, the build-up process of Amyloid-Beta Plaques and the subsequent effect on brain function is continually declining, with the fall increasing more rapidly as it proceeds. With treatment, the rate of decline is flattened.
There are some side effects, such as micro-bleeding, but how this will develop or cause more significant problems is yet unknown.
The cost is a staggering $54,000 a year. If this drug continues to show positive signs, the drugs should come down in price. It’s just about making money in the end. As long as the pharmaceutical companies make money, they don’t care if it is from a few or many. Increased demand doesn’t always relate to lower prices.
There are important and fundamental questions to which I have not been able to find an answer.
How does the treated Amyloid-Bata Plaques get removed from the brain?
Does it use the glymphatic or lymphatic system?
Is this the known and usual route by which amyloid-beta is removed from the brain?
This leads me on to the other possible drug-free treatment.
According to Professor Takashi Asada, of the Emerilas University of Tsukuta and leading authority on dementia and involved in the new drug trials, Sleep not only consolidates memories, but it is the time when the brain clears away the waste generated by the day’s workload. It is only during Sleep Amyloid-Beta is removed and not while awake.’ He also states; there are only three ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, and that is exercise, diet and Sleep!’
Hopefully, you can see why I asked those fundamental questions about the treatment with Aducanumab. Do these two processes aid a possible cure and prevention in unison?
Research is now showing that not only is exercise, diet and mental stimulation vital for keeping the brain in peak condition, but Sleep is just as important, or maybe even more so!
Do you remember the waste that is generated by the working brain cells? Well, this waste, the Amyloid Beta, goes into the fluid around all the brain cells. During Sleep, the brain shrinks. The spaces between the brain cells increase and fill with more fluid. As the brain goes through the sleep cycle, the brain returns to its normal size and, in doing so, forces out the fluid and waste products from the brain.
This process is called the Glymphatic System, and you can read my blog about this if you wish at, https://thedrs.uk/2021/02/02/the-night-cleaning-service-part-2/
I’m going to end with a picture.
It shows a brain before and after treatment with Aducanumab.
There are some striking things to note and questions it raises. If you can answer, I would really be happy to hear your comments.
The red in the Before image shows where the Amyloid Beta is accumulated.
In the After-treatment image, you can see that no Amyloid-Beta Plaques are remaining.
Look how much smaller the brain is after treatment.
Is it just fluid that now occupies that space that once was filled by Amyloid Beta Plaques?
Do the Amyloid-Beta Plaques occupy the area of the dead brain cells?
Are the dead brain cells removed in the treatment?
The brain hasn’t shrunk, but there is just less of it when removing all the Amyloid-Beta Plaques.
There are always more questions, but knowing a bit more hopefully helps than just being left in the dark!
Next, I’ll start looking for the light and seeing what I do in my daily life and hopefully what you can do too!
Categories: Dementia Related Post