Promise of a Cure for Alzheimers

Old woman

In previous columns I have written about my sister-in-law’s caring for her husband with Alzheimers, and of others’ experiences with the dreaded condition here and here.

From what I have observed and read, from the pathetic stories I have been told, from the deep hurt so easily seen in the eyes of my friends and family who relate their sorrowful experiences, I have come to believe the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s to be one of the most ghastly known to man. It literally takes away a person…yet the person continues to breathe…truly a living frightful death.

Announced yesterday from the publishers Biomed Central in the Journal of Neuroinflamation is a study in which the symptoms of Alzheimer’s seems to be quickly reversed. Admittedly, the study is quite small, but it extends hope to the millions around the world who suffer from this devastating malady, and to their families who helplessly watch their loved ones deteriorate into hopeless confusion.

A drug used for arthritis can reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer’s “in minutes”.

It appears to tackle one of the main features of the disease – inflammation in the brain.

The drug, called Enbrel, is injected into the spine where it blocks a chemical responsible for damaging the brain and other organs.

A pilot study carried out by U.S. researchers found one patient had his symptoms reversed “in minutes”.

Other patients have shown some improvements in symptoms such as forgetfulness and confusion after weekly injections over six months.

The study of 15 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation by online publishers Biomed Central.

The entire article is here.

I pray these results are not a fluke, but that in years to come, the word Alzheimers will be as the word polio is today–merely an ugly memory from the crumbling pages of history.

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My devotional blog is here

10 thoughts on “Promise of a Cure for Alzheimers

  1. The very first Hospice patient I volunteered for was my sister’s 3rd grade teacher and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nearly 10 years previously.

    When I sat with her (about 5 years ago) she was like an infant: she laid in her bed and I gave her drinks from a sippee cup. She didn’t talk or make any noise, just watched the birdfeeder outside her window.

    I was with her 2 times per week for the last whole year that she was alive. I did a little research on the disease and learned that music was one of the things which could really touch a person whose other memories were all gone.

    I prayed over her each time I visited, and for some reason, thought of singing, “Fly Me to the Moon, right up in her face so she could see and hear. Her eyes welled up and she made some noises, though I never heard if she was actually saying something or not.

    I probably sang that song to her 40 times and it was always the same reaction, though with other songs, even hymns, there was no reaction at all. I don’t know if it meant anything at all to her, but it changed my perception of people with Alzheimer’s. It was certainly an experience which changed my life.

    Jayleigh, you are so caring and precious, and this account touches me deeply. If such a condition should ever develop within my brain, I hope that someone will–as you did–recognize that in some ways, deep inside such a body is still a human, eternal soul, and possibly, there may reside a fragment of perception.

    Thank you for loving this person and for singing, “Fly Me to the Moon,” and for telling us this beautiful story.

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  2. Brian’s grandpa died from Alzheimers. It is the cruelest (don’t know if that is correct grammar) disease I know. We had to remove all the mirrors in Brian’s grandpa’s house because he wanted to fight the man in the mirror. So many stories and all so sad.

    It’s amazing how the personalities of those afflicted with Alzheimers often change, many of them becoming combative as did Brian’s grandfather.

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  3. Thank you for looking into it Sis Buxton. Of course now I wonder how was my information so far off. I’m sure this Sister thought she was telling a fact. She was shocked to see how widely spread it is here. Goes to show you how easily things get mixed up!

    Catherine, it’s possible that Alzheimer’s indeed is not as prevalent as it is here, even though they must have some. Another thought is that she may be calling Alzheimer’s by other names and not recognizing it. I don’t recall hearing of Alzheimers years ago. When I was younger I often heard of people having “hardening of the arteries.” Perhaps today such a condition would be called Alzheimers. I’m not sure.

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  4. Sis.Buxton, I told my Mom (who gives care to my grandmother with Dementia) about Elbren and this post. Mom said she’d be asking about it at Grandma’s next Dr. appt. Thank you for that post.

    Good morning, Von De Leigh. Is it your mother’s own mom whom she cares for? That must be one of the saddest things. I do hope there will be some help here.

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  5. How wonderful it would be to eliminate Alzheimers. It is indeed a ghastly disease. I’ve took care of a lady a few years back and it broke my heart. The family couldn’t bear to take her to her “new home”, so I did. She was more use to me than her own and it was so sad. She could still enjoy gardens, pictures and such and we would sing old hymns for hours (she lead). God help those searching for a cure.
    I want to bring something interesting. A Sister from Ethiopia was with us for a year. She said that it is non-existant in her country, I wonder how accurate this is. If so, what does that mean – pollution, diet,etc the culprit in America?

    Now, Catherine, your last comment is very interesting. Actually when I was writing in a comment a few minutes ago and stated that a cure for Alzheimers would affect the whole world, I did wonder if that is true, but given my experience here in the US, it certainly is the case. If there is not Alzheimers in Ethiopia, it would make one wonder. Later today I think I’ll do further checking, or if someone can do it now and get back with us that would be great.

    Edit: Just checked. There is a national Alzheimers Association in Ethiopia. Ethiopia

    Ye Ethiopia Alzhiemers Beshitegnoch Mahber
    P. O. Box 28657/1000
    Addis Ababa
    Ethiopia
    Tel: +251 91 113 8547
    Email: ninates2002@yahoo.com

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  6. Esther

    My Dad died from Alzheimers. Bill’s Mom died with it. So it is in both our families. So far we both seem to be okay. I have always had a hard time remembering names but that is nothing new. I truly hope there is a cure for this terrible condition, soon.

    Good morning, Esther. I can understand your concern and Bill’s when both of you have faced such tragedy in your families. This break-through–if it continues to show promise–will impact most of the world. Nearly everyone has family or friend touched by Alzheimers.

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  7. AMEN & AMEN!

    My grandmother had alzheimr’s and I will never forget the look on my dad’s face the first time she didn’t know who he was.

    I will pray that they indeed do find a cure.

    Eva, it is so good to hear from you. I tried to click on your name yesterday, but it wouldn’t go through…said the blog has been discontinued. Something must have happened along the way.

    Did your grandmother live a long time after developing Alzheimer’s? I know few of us want to let go of life, but sometimes it seems a mercy when such a person is taken home.

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  8. Carol–

    In the early stages of the disease when the afflicted one understands his thinking and memory are flawed, it just must be indescribably hard to bear. I do hope this turns out to be a major advancement in dealing with Alzheimers.

    I cringe when I think how your aunt must have felt, recognizing your faces, but unable to recall your names.

    Love and blessings to the Connell family.

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  9. That indeed would be wonderful if a cure for Alzheimer’s disease was found. My husband’s aunt has it, and the last time we saw her, about three years ago, she recognized our faces but couldn’t remember who we were. It must be so scary and frustrating too for those who have it not to be able to remember things.

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