Viewpoint: Why it’s too soon to predict the arrival date for an Alzheimer’s cure


A new study has inspired headlines claiming a cure for Alzheimer’s disease could be available within six years – but are we genuinely on the verge of an effective treatment?

[Many researchers], including those behind the current study, assert that [the brain’s] oligomers – even smaller molecules that occur naturally in neurons and similar – that are causing the damage, and that the tangles and [amyloid] plaques are consequences of this. Ergo, removing those larger molecular deposits is tantamount to clearing the dead fish away from the town’s water supply: they’re not helping matters, but they’re clearly not what’s poisoning it. This new study suggests we could have drugs that tackle the source, not the downstream effects.

There’s also the questionable use of the term “cure” in the many reports around this. Even if the drug works 100% effectively as hoped, the damage to the brain inflicted by Alzheimer’s and similar diseases is widespread.

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Even if we could somehow replace the lost brain cells in the damaged regions (which we can’t), to claim a full “cure”, we’d need to somehow shape and connect them so they’re exactly as they were.

Still, any progress is good at this juncture. But are we close to a cure for Alzheimer’s? As trite as it may be to end on such a scientific cliche, sometimes it’s just the truth: further research is needed.

Read full, original post: Are we really on the brink of a cure for Alzheimer’s?

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