This has been a really busy week for Alzheimer’s news and the people living and working with different types of dementia’s! The International Conference on Alzheimer’s was held in Chicago Illinois, my home state, this past week. A lot of good information and many questions came out of it, so I thought I’d start the show today by talking about what the conference covers. I will address some of the big headlines that came out of it and what you need to know for clarification, so here we go! The conference is held once a year; 6000 researchers from about 33 different countries convene together with physicians who are neurologists and general practitioners, and anybody who’s interested in the subject of dementia diseases. They talk about what clinical trials are going on in their camps! Are they being successful, and what’s on the horizon? I think some real hopeful information came out of the conference this year!
I think I will just dive into a couple of the highlights, so off the top there is a drug called Biogen that’s currently in the clinical trial stages and researchers are working towards getting this drug through the trials and ready for the public. The Biogen trial is coming out of Boston – Harvard, with Dr. Reisa Spierling at the helm and we’re pretty excited about it and where they’re at with it right now. 900 people were targeted in this clinical trial and of course, we must always have a certain amount that are getting placebo for the study’s efficacy. Biogen did show some benefit removing the amyloid plaque that causes Alzheimer’s. Dr. Fargo, one of the main researchers in the Alzheimer’s Association, stated that the drug cleared some of the amyloid plaque in the folks who received it, and they did show some improved cognition as well. This is super exciting, although they are years away from this becoming a pharmaceutical drug, ensuring people will be able to buy it in pharmacies everywhere. This trial is in the very early steps, but we are thrilled it is showing some promise.
In Denver Dr. Huntington Potter is working on the Leukine trial, which was also celebrated at the International Conference. It is showing some promise as well. It’s a little farther behind the Biogen trial, but Dr. Potter is making some great steps forward in the fight to cure Alzheimer’s disease. With the recent information that $401 million is being put towards research from the NIH National Institutes of Health, Dr. Potter’s study is back up and rolling, on all cylinders, and we hopefully will have some good news out of his clinical trials shortly!
Another thing that people have asked me about: researchers at the conference were talking about MCI, mild cognitive impairment – which is pre-dementia. It’s also pre-Alzheimer’s pathology, focusing on people who are showing early, early, signs of loss of cognition, but is has not yet interfered with their activities of daily living. What they’re trying to work on regarding MCI, is having those folks have a healthier lifestyle, and seeing if researchers can somehow intervene and make some changes to their lives that would lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s. We are not talking about prevention or reversal of the disease, but rather a lower risk of getting it and staving it off for little while with lifestyle changes and environmental changes.
A lot of the questions I received this week was the blood pressure (BP) issue. Yes, the researchers are targeting having more people with a blood pressure of 120, as the threshold used to be 140. Researchers are exploring the idea of people having a BP of 120 and taking good care of themselves, mind healthy, and body healthy, and if they do, it might lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s or having it come on a little less strong, the younger that you are. So, we’re all about healthy body, healthy brain, but it doesn’t mean that we are reversing anything!
Last but not least, the other thing from the conference which was noteworthy, and Dr. Fargo was willing to talk about, is the study around cannabis. To be clear, we are not in a place where were studying marijuana as a use for preventing or curing Alzheimer’s as an option, in fact, we’re not even close. Researchers are not looking down those paths at this time, but if they take the marijuana plant apart and take away the THC that gets you high, therefore using the medicinal part of the plant, they have created something called Navalone that will reduce agitation in people with Alzheimer’s.
So those are the kind of big things that came out of the International Research Conference on Alzheimer’s. Again, I think a lot a lot of hopeful things are going on, so we’ll see where that gets us at some point in time.
I have a lot of international and national listeners who pick up my podcasts, and so I want to touch on the groups that are coming out claiming they can prevent Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer’s is preventable/reversible, and they are everywhere around the world scamming my listeners. They infuriate me how they are stealing money from vulnerable people worried about getting Alzheimer’s. This week one of my clients called and asked me to come to a presentation a local company was giving claiming they can prevent Alzheimer’s. I went to listen, and I could not believe my ears! A New Life in Denver is calling Alzheimer’s an emotional psychological disease and that they can prevent it and slow the progression, and that they are actually reversing Alzheimer’s. Outrageous!
Listen to me people! There is no cure at this time! Please listen, please, please, don’t give anybody your hard-earned dollars, or your life savings! When there is a claim that Alzheimer’s has been cured, and advances for prevention for this disease is true, when and if it happens, we will scream it from the rooftops! It will be on every news channel! It will be on every radio station that we have found a cure for Alzheimer’s! No blood test can detect it, no MRI can detect it! We can detect it with PET scans, but you must be in a clinical trial to have this procedure.
If you want to do something to forward the prevention of this disease and look for a cure, join trial match! That’s one of the other big things that came out of the international meeting, they need more and more people in clinical trials! There are 200 going on just in the United States alone. Go on www.trialmatch.com and find one that works for you. I just want to be sure that you are you educated and informed, and we are not going to listen to people to tell us that they can do something that even the most brilliant minds in the world cannot. All the while taking your money, which you will never see again.
Listen to the rest of my podcast as I interview James Creasy. He owns Jimmy Wickett and he has a croquet program that he uses for people with Alzheimer’s enjoyment and exercise, and he’s got some exciting things to talk to us about. If you enjoy my podcasts and listen on iTunes, Apple, Stitcher, tunein, Spotify and Google Play, please scroll down to the bottom give me a five star rating!