Update to the Mindset Clinical Trial
We have been approved for the second phase of the Mindset Clinical Trial, so Catherine is now getting the actual drug, RVT-101. We had an entire day of testing and I can say that she has not gotten much better but also has not gotten any worst.
We did get some disappointing news about where we go from here after this next 8 sessions are done. Figure that will take from 8-10 months but after this phase she has to come off the drug. They figure it will still be several years before the drug hits the market so we will have to look for other types of drugs or therapies for her.
Travel is one that we will continue to do but have been thinking about getting a small apartment in ATL since we probably will slow down after next year or the year after. Here is something that came across on Facebook that sounds promising.
Does Exercising Your Brain Do any Good?
These days, a lot of people will tell you, “I do puzzles to keep my brain sharp.” But have you ever wondered if those endless crosswords and Sudokus actually make a difference in reducing “senior moments”… and possibly even dementia?
Scientists from Tel Aviv University have recently uncovered the answer … continue reading to find out!
Research from Tel Aviv University has proven that exercising your brain can truly make a difference in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. But the way it works might surprise you!
Alzheimer’s disease develops when certain types of proteins (called amyloid-betas) aggregate into plaques. These plaques build up between the nerve cells responsible for the brain’s electrical communication, causing the classic signs of dementia like slow speech and memory loss.
However, just as there are two types of cholesterol—one healthy and one dangerous—the same is true for amyloid proteins. Scientists now believe that a high level of amyloid-beta 40 is healthy, while amyloid-beta 42 is dangerous because it’s more likely to accumulate into plaques. If you have a high ratio of 40 to 42, you’re likely to be in good neurological shape.
So how does exercising your brain make a difference?
Here’s how it works, according to Nature Neuroscience
Dr. Inna Slutsky and her team showed that by using high frequency “bursts” of electricity in the animal hippocampus—the center of learning—they could increase the production of amyloid-beta 40.
This led the team to conclude that people who experience regular “bursts” of sensory experience can physically increase the level of amyloid-beta 40 in their brains. These kinds of bursts include environmental changes, new experiences, emotional reactions, and sessions of learning and focus (including completing crossword puzzles).
Scientists are even optimistic that this discovery could, someday, lead to a gentle electric treatment for Alzheimer’s. But don’t worry—it would be pain-free! Says neurologist Amos Kocyzn, also from Tel Aviv University, “Unlike crude electroshock treatments used in schizophrenia, we are talking about a very delicate, gentle and highly focused electrical stimulation.”
How to create your own “bursts”
Prevention is always the best medicine. There are many easy, free ways to create the same types of electrical bursts in your own brain.
Each of these applications forces your brain to adapt, think differently, and re-wire your neural network in a process scientists call neuroplasticity.
- Read every day, and not just your normal fare. If you always read the newspaper or technical journals, try fiction, and vice versa.
- Do puzzles. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, riddles, logic puzzles… anything that makes you stop and think for a period of time will do it.
- Learn a new language. A study performed at the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy showed learning a language causes significant brain development in the hippocampus (center of learning) and three areas of the cerebral cortex.“There is a lot to suggest that learning languages is a great way to keep the brain in shape,” said Johan Martensson, a psychology researcher at Lund University, Sweden.2
- Take an online course. Several universities offer free “open courses” with materials and lectures online. If you always meant to learn more about French culture or astrophysics, now is a great time to start!
When you perform “brain exercises” like these, you literally strengthen your brain, increase the strength and connectivity of your neural networks, and you get the benefits of increasing your levels of healthy amyloid-beta 40 proteins.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s my opinion that you should start soon. It’s never too late to start fighting Alzheimer’s disease.
We are doing our part with seeing and doing new things everyday and also she does a lot of reading on her iPhone, As we continue to travel going to make a better effort to learn some words of the natives and maybe a crossword puzzle or two.
In response I got a message from a friend that mentioned another study that sounds promising. I had heard about it before but now that we will be kicked to the curb in less than a year need to continue for new ways to stave off the disease.
New Alzheimer’s treatment fully restores memory function
Of the mice that received the treatment, 75 percent got their memory function back.
Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques – structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients.
If a person has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s usually the result of a build-up of two types of lesions – amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. Amyloid plaques sit between the neurons and end up as dense clusters of beta-amyloid molecules, a sticky type of protein that clumps together and forms plaques.
Neurofibrillary tangles are found inside the neurons of the brain, and they’re caused by defective tau proteins that clump up into a thick, insoluble mass. This causes tiny filaments called microtubules to get all twisted, which disrupts the transportation of essential materials such as nutrients and organelles along them, just like when you twist up the vacuum cleaner tube.
As we don’t have any kind of vaccine or preventative measure for Alzheimer’s – a disease that affects 343,000 people in Australia, and 50 million worldwide – it’s been a race to figure out how best to treat it, starting with how to clear the build-up of defective beta-amyloid and tau proteins from a patient’s brain. Now a team from the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at the University of Queensland have come up with a pretty promising solution for removing the former.
Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to activate. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps that are responsible for the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
The team reports fully restoring the memory function of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.
“We’re extremely excited by this innovation of treating Alzheimer’s without using drug therapeutics,” one of the team, Jürgen Götz, said in a press release. “The word ‘breakthrough’ is often misused, but in this case I think this really does fundamentally change our understanding of how to treat this disease, and I foresee a great future for this approach.
The team says they’re planning on starting trials with higher animal models, such as sheep, and hope to get their human trials underway in 2017.
You can hear an ABC radio interview with the team here.
That would be perfect since that would be about the time she will have to come off RVT-101 and I would not mind if we had to live in Austraila for awhile. We are planning a Half Marathon in nearby New Zealand next November.
Catherine and I had a very long discussion on her progress with the new drug the other day. I will get a better gage when we go back for our Mindset appointment next week. Her short term memory has not improved but I must admit her cognitive skills have gotten better. That is what they have said about the drug she is on and it is interesting to watch the difference.
In other words there are things she just figured she could no longer do and I would have to take up the slack but now I see her trying to do those things. She has become more independent, self assured and trying to tackle tasks that she gave up on a couple of years ago.
As an example she now tries to figure out where we are going in the future. She use to just rely on me but now wants that information so she can refer to it on a calendar and not have to ask me several times a day. It is not easy for her and from time to time there is frustration but I applaud her for the effort. I truly believe over time it will get easier.
Her independence manifests itself in her desire to go for walks by herself. Nothing major but to walk around the campground or hotel complex and to return with a big grin on her face is something I come to cherish. Baby steps and sometimes two steps forward and one step back is not so bad. I really look forward to the 100 or so questions they will ask me on her next mindset appointment. It always seems to give me a great gauge of where we are now and hold off for a little while longer where we might be going in the future.
For whatever reason I truly believe they will find a cure in her life time and as the doctor that came up with RVT 101 said “within the next 5 years people like her will live a good life and will die from something else just like everyone else”. I understand they just found a vaccine for AIDS. Until that time we will continue to enjoy each day that is provided to us.
A few weeks back I participated in a online series call Awakening from Alzheimer’s. In that 10 video series they covered many strategies along with suggested Vitamins and minerals. I had gone that this thought process at the very beginning but it seemed to cause problems with here digestive system.
This time around many of the suggestions seemed to make more sense so decided to add most to her daily medications.
Here is the list
Some might think that maybe we should only do one or the other, new drug, new vitamins at a time but I decided that sense she will have to stop RVT 101 within the a year I might as well try everything available. Digestive system seems to handling the new regime well. Time shall tell.
After that series they offered a short book offering some other ideas to improve ones life dealing with this disease. I have not but will read the book in the near future and offer it here.
The End of Alzheimer’s, A Differential Diagnosis Toward a Cure
Something we both found to be very alarming was some of the conversations we had with several folks while we were on a tour during our recent tour of Cuba. We now wear Alzheimers awareness bracelets. A number of people asked us about why we were wearing them and Catherine decided to tell each of them about her condition.
The part that was alarming was during these conversations we found out that some had lost a loved one to the disease. Paula had been on two prior trips with us and she lost her husband. He was only 62 and was diagnosed 5 years prior. Another daughter, son and Aunt lost their mom/sister. She was only 60 and was diagnosed 5 years prior. The last lady has a sister who is in her mid 60’s and is in the severe stage of younger onset Alzheimers.
They all seemed very interested in our story and our approach to her illness. The other thing I noticed is that each of them were late on noticing there was a problem at all. The other alarming aspect to these conversations was that out of the 90 folks, 6 knew someone that was effected by this disease, almost 7 percent.
Our Mindset appointment was very quick today and they did not ask me any questions as they usually did. They did not ask Catherine any either. Just pee and blood, very strange. We also do not have to come back until 6 weeks from now which is good since we have multiple trips planned for January.
I will close out with this update with one thought about what I have also noticed since Catherine has been taking RVT-101 for a month now. I spoke earlier about her desire for independence which is great but I have also noticed that she now wants things exactly how she wants them. Not totally bad but different. I think it comes from her desire for independence and now feels free to ask for things the ways she actually wants them instead of just taking things as is.
At first it was an adjustment for me because I then would try to accommodate her requests but now I have figured to allow her to make her own adjustments to her desires. In other words if she wants something done a certain way, I now ask here to do it herself.