In an earlier blog, I outlined the sad fact that the big names in medical research for a cure to Alzheimer’s were throwing in the towel. Millions upon millions in research dollars, multiple complex human trails and only five medications that are marginally effective for a short time. There has been no new drug for over a decade. The budget for Alzheimer’s research has more than doubled in the last two years to 1.9 Billion dollars. After all this, the consensus is that the molecular biology of Alzheimer’s is just now being understood.
Before I launch into my wailing about how can this be, I did check on Biogen and the progress with their drug nicknamed ‘Adu’ that I have mentioned repeatedly. As of this writing, it still hanging in there with two major third phase clinical trails. They have actually added more subjects which is probably a good sign. Again no more reports are due until the end of 2019. So the brain genie is still out there.
Back to the excuses or explanations, depending on how you see it from Big Pharma. After all these years they recognize that the disease is a hydra; for every clinical question answered, two more appear to be wrestled with and solved. The hydra analogy is apt, that ancient concept of a multiple headed beast that will not quit.
Some startling thoughts: In the US, where older adults are outnumbering children for the first time in history, a new case of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed every 66 seconds.
The three main obstacles they now see are as follows:
This is a disease is asymptomatic as it grows at first. When it shows its ugly symptoms of personality memory and cognitive loss, there may be already irreversible damage.
They are still lacking good methods to tell early signs. A blood test is in the works, but will take years.
Finding candidates for clinical trails continues to be difficult, but they at least now combining databases.
So where does that leave us? I realize how much I have repeated myself in these blogs on the Memory Lane category. You could ask at this juncture, what is hope made of?
Maybe we have to commit to a higher level of personal responsibility in some home grown practices. I have repeated the mantra many times, better diet, consistent exercise, making sleep a priority and keeping social. Keeping a individual vigil on these practices may be the best weapon we have to wrestle with the devil.