Straight Talk from Al Jacobs
DEMENTIA IN THE CROSSHAIRS
A recent Online article suggests researchers have come upon the first two potentially effective Alzheimer’s medications ever developed, named Anavex 2-73 and BAN2401. As a result, dementia specialists met in Chicago to discuss the findings, which breathes life into the possibility that whatever factors drive or contribute to the disease can be effectively targeted and eventually pinpointed, in hopes of ridding mankind of this pernicious scourge. However, the possibility a single drug, or even a series of them, may not be the answer was expressed by James A. Hendrix, director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, who said “Maybe one-size-fits-all is not the best approach.” This acknowledges a growing likelihood the ailment may be many different diseases.
It has long been my belief Alzheimer’s disease – which at an earlier time was known as dementia or senility – is a mental aberration resulting from any variety of malfunctions that plague the human body. It’s long been recognized professional prize fighters can develop these symptoms, apparently the result of repeated blows to the head. It’s also known certain chemicals can be the source. As one example, children overexposed to the element lead will develop cognitive impairment. There’s a third circumstance which I believe to be, far and away, the most common cause of mental deterioration in persons as they age. This is what may be best described as long-term diminution of oxygen to the brain.
Let me offer a theory for consideration. It’s well known cerebral hypoxia –impairment of brain function – can result from acute oxygen deprivation. Is it therefore not possible long-term oxygen reduction may slowly result in those symptoms identified with Alzheimer’s? As we age, we’re less physically active, so there’s less oxygen flowing to the brain through the carotid arteries. The result: garden variety senility.
I’ll now pose a question: Why is mild oxygen deprivation not aggressively researched as a likely cause of Alzheimer’s? I‘ll offer an answer: There’ll be neither research grants nor pharmaceutical stipends for such a quest. In short, there’s not much profit to be reaped by simply encouraging oldsters to vigorously walk four miles at a clip or visit the local YMCA for a daily swim. And God forbid that Alzheimer’s should actually be cured, and the research profits ended. Thus it will continue to be business as usual.