Sunday, July 26, 2015


WoW - What a Week it's been in the world of dementia research. I seem to have spent all my time posting things on Facebook with lots of exclamation marks!

I'll try to do a brief resume of what's been happening but first Esther wants to share something with the world. I was supposed to be heading off into London for an update meeting about Join dementia research but when I went out to feed and check the horses I was greeted with the teeniest snicker from Esther who was peeping out of a field shelter and when she moved towards me she was really woozy and staggering around.

Closer inspection showed she had a lot of blood on her off-side hind leg and it looked as if she'd been stung or bitten by something so I called the vet immediately (at 5:45am I bet he loved me!). By the time the vet had left it was obvious that I couldn't leave Mike to watch over her as he'd be worried and wouldn't be comfortable as he isn't a horsey person, although he loves them dearly, so I had to pull out of the meeting.

Thankfully by mid-afternoon she was looking much perkier and was raring to get out but I decided to keep her in overnight just to make sure and she was absolutely fine the next morning.

I was bitten by a biting thing, possibly a wasp, and the vet gave me something to calm me down and mum said I had to stay in here 'cos I was "high as a kite". I don't know what a kite is but I am feeling very sorry for myself.
I've been incarcerated in here all day by a cruel woman - please help me!

Looking much perkier the following morning.

Now, about the dementia news.  All the movers and shakers in the world of dementia research where gathered together in Washington last week for the Alzheimer's Association of America's International conference.

The first massive announcement was that the drug Solanezumab (no, I can't pronounce it properly yet either!) was back on the agenda. It was produced and developed by drug-makers Eli Lilly and trialled back in 2012 when it was dismissed after Phase 111 trials as it didn't show the benefits expected. 

However, this was not the end for this drug and a follow-up study began on people in the earlier stages of Alzheimer's and that's what all the excitement was about. Please read Dr. Laura Philips blog post for more details.

At the moment it is impossible to stop the death of brain cells in Alzheimer's. I've written a bit about the amyloid proteins formed in the brain before but I liked this diagram I found on the BBC website as it's a good visual aid.

Current medications such as the drug Aricept only help the dying brain cells to function for as long as possible but the hope is that Solanezumab might be able to keep then alive by attacking the amyloid proteins which scientists believe lead to the death of brain cells.

Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK stated that if the results of the initial trial are replicated this could be a real breakthrough in Alzheimer's research. In his words "Then, for the first time, the medical community can say we can slow Alzheimer's, which is an incredible step forward. These data need replicating, this is not proof, but what you can say is it is entirely consistent with a disease-modifying effect".

What we want to see now is that the drug can slow down the progress of the disease if taken early enough.

Women's brains appear more vulnerable to Alzheimer's than men

No, I didn't like that headline either! 

You can read the full article here which is very interesting. I've read so many articles this week and not all of them have given me a warm fuzzy feeling. I especially disliked this sentence which stuck out  "a third study found that women who have surgery with general anesthesia are more likely than men to develop long-term problems with thinking and memory." 

As someone who could write a guide to hospitals I have visited over the years, where I've had a total of 7 doses of general anaesthetic, those words filled me with dread.

Of course, the optimist in me knows that it doesn't mean I will definitely go on to develop dementia, but it's yet another thing to tick off the long list of dementia-indicators that haunts me in my darker moments.

Other links worth a look

  • There's an interesting article on the Join dementia research website  asking the question "Why do some people get dementia and not others?" which is well worth a look.
  • Another article by Dr Laura Philips here talks about other clinical trials.

Phew! All very exciting stuff and I'm so glad that dementia is finally getting more attention.

I really need to do an update on my crafting soon as I've got crochet and knitting projects on the go plus there's another marathon on the horizon……..

No comments: