Exciting Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's! And the first Patient is a Nurse

  1. Alzheimer's is one of the great robbers of our minds. November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Here is a new clinical trial treatment.

    Exciting Possible Treatment for Alzheimer's! And the first Patient is a Nurse

    Approximately 5.7 Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's currently. 5.5 million people are over the age of 65 years and there are approximately 200,000 individuals under the age of 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer's. These numbers are expected to double by 2060 in the US. As we become better able to care for chronic diseases such as heart and lung disease as well as improved cancer survival rates, our population is growing older and at more risk for Alzheimer's and other dementias.Recently, in Morgantown, West Virginia a potential breakthrough has been made. ""For Alzheimer's there's not that many treatments available, despite hundreds of clinical trials over the past two decades, and billions of dollars spent," said Dr. Ali R. Rezai, a neurosurgeon at WVU who led the team of investigators that successfully performed a phase II trial using focused ultrasound to treat a patient with early stage Alzheimer's."

    More on this ground-breaking treatment:

    The procedure in West Virginia involved the use of ultrasound waves focused through a specialized helmet with more than 1,000 probes targeting a precise spot in the brain, Rezai explained, coupled with microscopic bubbles. "And when we put a different frequency of ultrasound on the bubbles they start osculating," he said. The reaction opens up the brain-blood barrier - a nearly impenetrable shield between the brain's blood vessels and cells that make up brain tissue. "It's protected on one end for us to function but also prevents larger molecules or chemotherapy or medications or anti-bodies or immune system cells or amino therapy or stem cells to get in," he said.

    In this case, the West Virginia team targeted the hippocampus and the memory and cognitive centers of the brain which are impacted by plaques found in patients with Alzheimer's. "Plaques are these clusters of proteins that accumulate and they block-up the brains connectivity," he said. "In animal studies it showed that these plaques are cleared with ultrasound technology.

    The first patient, a person Rezai called a pioneer and hero is West Virginia health care worker and former WVU Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse Judi Polak. She was diagnosed five years ago with early-onset Alzheimer's. After her first treatment, she noted that she could answer questions quicker and participate in conversations easier and she also reported that her speech was clearer.

    Many members of a large team contributed to the first successful use of this treatment. Included among the front-runners of the team is Dr. Jeff Carpenter, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery and an interventional neuroradiologist at WVU. He considers himself the "tech'" guy of team as he has a background in both MRI, interventional radiology but also has the ability to care for patients.

    There are seven stages of Alzheimer's though not everyone passes through them at the same rate:

    • Stage One: No Impairment
    • Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
    • Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline
    • Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline
    • Stage Five: Moderately severe cognitive decline
    • Stage Six: Severe cognitive decline
    • Stage Seven: Very severe cognitive decline

    This treatment, currently in stage 2 clinical trials holds promise though this must be tempered with caution as it is still in the early stages of treating patients. However, we can only wonder what would happen to our population if Alzheimer's is eradicated? What's next? Heart disease? Cancer?

    Continued research and clinical trials are needed of course - maybe the sky is the limit for our longevity!


    References:

    Alzheimers Association

    Historic breakthrough: WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience team first to use ultrasound to treat Alzheimer's


    National Toll-Free Helpline

    Number of Americans with Alzheimer's Patients Expected to Soar in Coming Decades

    Seven Stages of Alzhiemer's
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    7 Comments

  3. by   Horseshoe
    I have a friend with early onset Alzheimers (diagnosed at age 53). I wonder if she has heard about this study.
  4. by   djh123
    Wow. I hope this really turns into something.
  5. by   KatieMI
    Aging

    It is already a year that I tell people about this cheap, harmless and seemingly effective way to treat early stages of non-early start Alzheimer. But most state outright that to abandon their sweets, fast food and hybernating for days in front of TV is beyond them. Still waiting for "miracle pill/machine" to fix't right up.
  6. by   morte
    How an outsider bucked prevailing Alzheimer's theory, clawed for validation - STAT
    interesting fellow at MGH. from Oz, mentored by Gary Marshall. thinking outside the box.

    when Alzheimer's was first named, it WAS early onset dementia, by definition. then that def. was expanded to include all dementia not otherwise defined.

    Dr. Moir feels that the plaque is not the problem, but a result of an infection, spec. Herpes.
  7. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from KatieMI
    Aging

    It is already a year that I tell people about this cheap, harmless and seemingly effective way to treat early stages of non-early start Alzheimer. But most state outright that to abandon their sweets, fast food and hybernating for days in front of TV is beyond them. Still waiting for "miracle pill/machine" to fix't right up.
    Unfortunately, my friend has early onset Alzheimer's. She is a slim, physically active person who has always watched her diet, is very athletic, and looks far younger than her years. Her problem seems to be highly correlated to heredity, as her father died of Alzheimer's and I believe her mother has dementia at present.

    I believe she is following a keto diet or something similar and is doing everything recommended to arrest the progress of her disease. I know she has petitioned to be part of a study, but I don't know which one specifically. I hope she can achieve a sort of remission from this awful disease.
  8. by   traumaRUs
    Its obvious this has struck a chord for many. Alzheimer's and related dementias rob our loved ones of their mind. Its a horrible disease and hopefully this study will provide some real assistance. It takes a brave person to agree to a clinical study - however, that is what is needed to find a cure.
  9. by   praise023
    This is AMAZING!!!!! I pray we achieve a breakthrough soon. I wrote two papers during my masters program in nursing on smoking and ADD/ADHD relating to Dementia and Alzheimer's. I also worry about my head injury leading to a possibility of having Dentia or Alzheimer's in the future. I massage my head often when it aches still after fourteen years and it helps but still worry at times. I pray we come up with something soon.

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