Re: Count No Man Happy...

1

Wow. Thanks for this.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:13 PM
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How awful.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:17 PM
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My grandmother's life ended about two years after she got lost in a fog of Alzheimer's anger. It was hard for me and harder for my dad, who had to care for her and get her into paid care against her will. I really hope for my son's sake that I have the good sense to find an ice floe when my time comes.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:20 PM
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So very, very sad.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:21 PM
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You people are not making it easy for me to post the stupid joke I have all ready.

If we're going to be all serious, the post reminds me of an acquiantance who's mother, suffering from dementia, has lately taken a boyfriend in the nursing home. They're prone to sneaking off places together and generally making spectacles of themselves, behaving in ways that she never would have when she had all her faculties. The question, then, is whether to stop her, because the person she was before would have been horrified, or to accept that her right of self-determination, however much her personality has changed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:22 PM
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My grandmother has had Alzheimer's for more than a decade now -- going on 14 years, come to think of it.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:27 PM
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My wife's mother was horribly abused by her stepmother as a child. The stepmother doted on her own children, and treated the stepchildren as animals or worse; beating them, cursing them, routinely making them eat their meals under the stairs while the family ate at the table, that sort of thing.

My wife, knowing full well her mother's past, met the stepmother when she had become infirm and senile. Now as it happens, my wife is a spitting image of her mother as a younger woman. The stepmother saw my wife and recoiled in horror, thinking her stepdaughter had returned to take her revenge. And my wife, realizing what was happening, encouraged her in that belief, and made subtley threatening gestures while pretending (as far as anyone else could tell) to treat the stepmother with kindness.

On the one hand, it's a horrible thing to prey on the fears of a crippled, mentally incapacitated old woman. OTOH, as they say, revenge is a dish best served cold.


Posted by: Depicted on a banknote | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:28 PM
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25 years from now, I see myself
reincarnated


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:29 PM
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In college I knew a woman (the library archivist) who was stabbed to death by her husband with Alzheimer's, who ambushed her one day when she came home. It can actually be pretty dangerous to be taking care of someone who doesn't know who you are and has aggressive outbursts; your mom's neighbor should be careful (and maybe consider getting help or institutionalizing his wife, if he can afford it).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:30 PM
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Here, Sifu, I'll help:

now only sometimes recognizes her husband, and spends the rest of the time thinking he's a murderer.

This reminds me of the time I posted under the wrong pseud.

OK, now you go.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:36 PM
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My grandmother has had Alzheimer's for more than a decade now -- going on 14 years, come to think of it.

My sincerest sympathies. We went through the same with one of my grandparents, and--though we were quite removed from the situation--it was just brutal. Alzheimer's might be the thing I fear most.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:37 PM
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7: Damn.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:37 PM
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10: thanks!

If you're looking for moral absolution for a mercy killing you won't get it here, ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:39 PM
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Dementia seems like both the worst of all possible outcomes and a brutally common way to end life. The worst, because it is such a terrifying and insulting condition to contemplate and also because all the bad effects are borne by loved ones. Ooh, I dread thinking about it.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:42 PM
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It must be so terrifying to have Alzheimer's. We often think of it as a burden on the family and loved ones, because it is, and how hurtful it must be, for in this case, the old man to be screamed at by his wife.

But to imagine her terror, at truly believing she is about to murdered, is almost enough to make me pre-emptively buy an ice floe.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:44 PM
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.... behaving in ways that she never would have when she had all her faculties marbles.

Fixed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:47 PM
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Can anyone make an informed comment about what the prospects are for medical research coming up with an effective therapy for Alzeimers (drugs, stem cells, whatever) in the next two decades or so? Obviously these predictions are fraught with uncertainty (I remember how interferon was going to cure cancer by the mid 1980s), but what's the sentiment in the scientific community?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:47 PM
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Dementia seems like both the worst of all possible outcomes and a brutally common way to end life.

I hope this isn't super-trolly, but there are also happy-dementia people whose dementia personality doesn't seemed tortured. My dad said goodbye to his dad, and mourned him, about five years before he actually died.

I think there are worse things to happen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:48 PM
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OK, so is it time to establish the Unfogged Mutual Dementia Prevention [ahem] Benefits Society?

Gender-indeterminate commenters, please let one of the posters know, so that when we come for you at your IP address, we know which person to Prevent Dementia for.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:50 PM
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Roberta works on an long-term, nationwide aging and memory study, and so has lots of dealings with Alzheimer's patients and their families. It's a fascinating/bewildering disease, because it can manifest so differently in different people at different times, but the ones who turn aggressive are particularly difficult for the families.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:52 PM
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what's the sentiment in the scientific community?

"Oh god oh god please don't let me get dementia." Same as everyone else, really.

Sorry to be so crass, btw. I'm doing taxes, and so am feeling a bit punchy. I already know the bottom line, but the closer I get to sealing that envelope, the more the reality hits.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:52 PM
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I'm sure I've told this before but when I was in high school my mother - watching her own mother go through Parkinson's and then, eventually, dementia - once turned to me out of the blue and said, "Promise me right now that if I am ever like your grandmother that you and your sisters will split the cost of a shotgun."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:53 PM
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17. I think they'll cure cancer first (i.e., be able to generally treat it). My opinion comes from hanging out with people working on medical devices.


Posted by: BA | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 3:58 PM
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18 is true, and part of the different manifesting I was mentioned.

coming up with an effective therapy for Alzeimers (drugs, stem cells, whatever) in the next two decades or so

Twenty years? Yeah, sure. That's an eternity. The drugs they use now aren't too bad, really, but they don't roll anything back. They just slow the progression way, way down. Unfortunately, most people don't get on them until they're already progressed pretty far.

Before pharma develops a better treatment, though, they're going to have to get a better grip on what Alzheimer's actually is. Or, probably, what the varied suite of neurodegenerative disorders we've been lumping under the Alzheimer's umbrella are.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:00 PM
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I should say that I don't have a great deal of personal experience with dementia and none with Alzheimer's. My great-grandmother suffered dementia only briefly before dying at the age of 98. I was young enough to think it was mostly odd that she asked me questions about how I liked picking cotton and so on; but by that time my mother and my grandmother had grieved for her already, I think.

I think it's probably right not to cast too much doom and fear about a fate one knows little about (still scary, though). A deaf friend of mine has strong political opinions about ice floes and how they're discussed in the public arena when it comes to sudden or unexpected disabilities. I'm sensitive to that and I think that when people say that they have in mind the worst-case scenarios, but of course all Alzheimer's cases are not worst cases. But yeah, the worst-case Alzheimer's cases seem worse than any other late-in-life disabilities that I can think of.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:01 PM
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Early detection is improving dramatically, and there are lifestyle changes one can make that offer marginal improvements. There are also a few drugs that alleviate symptoms, but the only treatment I've heard of that had a dramatic effect was incredibly dangerous (caused life-threatening encephelitis in something like half the patients). But I'm not a very knowledgeable source.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:02 PM
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Before pharma develops a better treatment, though, they're going to have to get a better grip on what Alzheimer's actually is. Or, probably, what the varied suite of neurodegenerative disorders we've been lumping under the Alzheimer's umbrella are.

Ayup.

And even in the best case curing it might be difficult or impossible; it's not like you can replace neural pathways that have been destroyed. Maybe you could give somebody the capacity to re-learn things, but it's hard to imagine ever really rolling anything back.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:03 PM
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Funny, I was just envisioning in great detail what it would be like to have a fuzzy mind, and not quite be able to get a grip on why events are happening, and have a sense a loss for your old mind and home and posessions, and coming around to the idea that maybe it is the very worst.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:04 PM
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29

28 to 25.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:04 PM
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dementia prevention tips - pomegranate juice, green tea, folic acid, manual activity (moving one's fingers, for example, show 3 types of airplane models, flexing 1. the index and ring fingers, 2. flexing the middle finger only, 3. flexing the ring finger only, but i forgot how many times a day ;)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:06 PM
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No really good mouse model of Alzheimer's exists, and I do not think people are agreed on either genetic or environmental cause. There are mouse models that approximate Alzheimer's. That much is clear; I'm less certain about the following, but it seems to me that there are frequent credible-sounding discoveries of relevant factors both genetic and environmental. So there's rapid progress of knowledge and no obvious roadblock. There may be a good therapy in clinical trials already, or it may be found in 5 years, or unfortunately much longer.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:08 PM
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what it would be like to have a fuzzy mind, and not quite be able to get a grip on why events are happening, [...] and coming around to the idea that maybe it is like being a Republican.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:08 PM
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MS is another scary disease. I'm unlikely to get it (or Alzheimer's either, thank god), but watching my aunt? It's definitely on the "I hope I die before I get that old" scale.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:10 PM
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34

Well, then I can look forward to having a strong sense of entitlement and self-righteousness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:10 PM
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+fish oil


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:10 PM
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If I get Alzheimers I'm going to smoke a shit-ton of pot because then maybe I can convince myself it's just the pot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:14 PM
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read is right, of course, that all those antioxidant-rich foods can't hurt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:15 PM
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33: My grandmother retired on disability due to MS when my dad was in HS; she died when I was in college (and my dad was 47). It didn't get especially bad for her until the last ~5 years, but there were a lot of hard years for her before then.

I suppose I should know: is there anything I should be doing? Is there a test? I told the screener at the hospital about it when my wife got pregnant, and I wasn't told to do anything about it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:16 PM
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39

How many mouse-orgasms offset one mouse-Alzheimers?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:18 PM
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40

Include coffee among your antioxidants.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:18 PM
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There are no early tests, but PET scans can show plaque build-ups. Unfortunately this happens relatively late and is neither necessary nor sufficient for an Alzheimer's diagnosis. But diagnostic methods are improving.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:20 PM
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At least as important as diet is maintaining an active, learning mind. Keep up the Unfogged commenting!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:21 PM
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5

"... The question, then, is whether to stop her, because the person she was before would have been horrified, or to accept that her right of self-determination, however much her personality has changed."

If she has become incompetent she should be stopped.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:25 PM
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MS prevention tips - live in warm climate, avoid colds, check may be HLA class DR? again forgot,
http://www.geocities.com/thjuland/hla-dp.html
but no use of checking that, just to know that you may be susceptible to MS something, hopefully only for now
i'd describe how to built a model of house using your fingers, but it requires too many words


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:25 PM
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38: You can't really diagnose MS unless you've had an attack, and sometimes that's not even sufficient. My sister had a very MS-like attack a little over three years ago, after which she went through all kinds of tests and exams, including MRIs, and it's still inconclusive. The only way to tell at this point will be if she has another attack some day.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:25 PM
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d


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:25 PM
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43: so she should be prevented from doing things she enjoys -- things which aren't hurting anybody -- because it is assumed that she would have previously believed that she shouldn't be doing them?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:27 PM
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+a,
languages perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:29 PM
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Maybe you could give somebody the capacity to re-learn things, but it's hard to imagine ever really rolling anything back.

I had something like this in one of my earlier comments, but then took it out because I don't really know jack about stem cell theories.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:29 PM
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Maybe you could give somebody the capacity to re-learn things, but it's hard to imagine ever really rolling anything back.
I wonder. Is it a problem with storage or recall? If a patient can perform a task some of the time, the capacity is still there, perhaps too weak to overcome noise.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:35 PM
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49, 50: well, yeah, the brain is very good at recovering fragmentary things, so if you could somehow get rid of the plaques and promote dendrite growth then sure, there's probably a lot still there.

I say this based on very very little actual knowledge, though


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:39 PM
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i'd describe how to built a model of house using your fingers, but it requires too many words

"Here's the church
Here's the steeple
Open the doors
And here are the people."

Hey read, maybe someone else asked and I missed it, but: why were you flying across our Great Nation the other day?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:40 PM
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43: "Incompetent" assumes that the person in question is incapable of making decisions with respect to her own safety, rather than merely making decisions that are surprising to those familiar with her.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:41 PM
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just was coming back from my vacation
5 i would vote for
to accept that her right of self-determination, however much her personality has changed.
perhaps it's right just to provide them privacy of like the separate apartment within the nursing home?


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:44 PM
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53 to 47, not 43.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:44 PM
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52 can you show the picture, i'm curious whether it is the same model


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:45 PM
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A deaf friend of mine has strong political opinions about ice floes

Not to worry. With global warming there won't be any ice floes in 30 years.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:49 PM
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55: 53 to 43. I don't agree or disagree with 47, just question the conclusiveness of incompetence.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 4:52 PM
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My ex's mother suffered from Alzheimer's, starting in her early 50s. She grew increasingly nasty to all of her children, then forgot she had children. The youngest was 12 at the onset, and her mother's condition sent the kid into a downward spin from which she never quite recovered. [Imagine being 13 years old and having a screeching harpy who looked like your mother telling you you were a bad seed and a whore and that she wished you were dead. Now couple that with a father in denial and you'll see what the kid's hell was like.]

OTOH, my grandfather went senile in his early 90s and died at 95, after an evening of dancing. Oddly enough, he was entirely lucid the day before, remembering my mother's name and all sorts of things he'd forgot. I'd rather go his way, TBH.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:00 PM
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56: Here's a fairly nice version. Click around, there are a couple goofy ones, plus an odd one of two Chinese (?) children named Noah and Hannah (!) being directed in Chinese to perform it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:12 PM
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ooh, very nice, and it's different from ours
well, may be i'll post ours on utube if i'll record how,
to describe in words is like beyond my language capabilities


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:20 PM
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I worked for a guy who was suffering from Parkinson's-related dementia. It was the worst job I've ever had. I wasn't there as a health-care provider; I was cataloging his library. His dementia was early-stage, so mostly it seemed to manifest as a tendency to indulge impulses that he wasn't exactly known for controlling very well in the first place. He not only sexually harassed me in incredibly cruel and humiliating ways; he spent most of the day quizzing me in a Ha!-Got-you! way about literature, bragging about how much money he had, complaining about having to pay me to do the work, threatening my career in ominous tones, saying nasty things about all my professors and advisers, and generally being a total prick all the time. I just swallowed it, but I honestly thought about killing him. When I finished the job, he'd call me and leave long messages on my cell phone, begging to know why I didn't come over anymore, and why I didn't appreciate his offers for help in my career, because he could call people! He could call people in my department!

I ended up having to go to my department and prophylactically explain that an extremely ill former colleague of theirs would probably call and say nasty things about me. God, that sucked. He started showing up randomly to events at my school and edging his way over to sit next to me, leering menacingly at me the whole time.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:30 PM
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Sorry, that comment was really assholish. I think I am not well-equipped to spend lots of time with people suffering from dementia of whom I have no fond memories while they were healthy.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:32 PM
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AWB reveals the seamy underbelly of what Elaine Benes and Mr. Pitt presented as such a healthy relationship.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:33 PM
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AWB, you seem to collect an odd assortment of admirers, of which you can count me as one.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:35 PM
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62: I had to have a conversation like that with my employer about a close relative of mine. In retrospect, he was just normally decent and kind, but at the time, to a shamed and humiliated undergraduate, he looked like a saint.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:40 PM
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I was just envisioning in great detail what it would be like to have a fuzzy mind, and not quite be able to get a grip on why events are happening, and have a sense a loss for your old mind and home and posessions, and coming around to the idea that maybe it is the very worst.

The one I watched up close was schizophrenia rather than Alzheimer's, but I'm with you on this. It's hard to imagine something more horrifying than being almost but not quite able to understand that your own head has gone completely haywire on you.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 5:47 PM
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17: I think that real progress can be made in another two decades. Unfortunately, it does not appear that any significant progress in drug therapies have been made in the last two decades.

Nevertheless, lw's 31 gives some hope. If the biologists are beginning to understand what's going on, the chemistry (or biochemistry) shouldn't be far behind.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:13 PM
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Christ, in two decades I think we'll be able to download our brains and run an inverse dementia algorithm.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:21 PM
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I would like to thank all of you for making me feel good about the fact that cancer is the Idealist clan's terminal disease of choice.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:24 PM
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70: I'd take cancer over severe mental illness any day.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:31 PM
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My mother was quite pleased with her terminal cancer. It was painless, and mostly she just got weaker and weaker.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:35 PM
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But cancer often seems to come so early, and interrupt a vibrant life. Whereas, with dementia, it seems like they milked life for all it was worth, until their brain was wrung out.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:38 PM
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Further 71: I would, of course, prefer a day far in the future if it comes to that.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:38 PM
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I just wanted to throw my two cents into this. I realize I'm new to this site and I've only commented once before (where I exposed Ben's blunderous posting error, much to his chagrin), but I figured that I could lend a hand of insight into these matters. I'm a graduate student (MD/PhD) and my current research deals specifically with protein channels and their functions throughout regions of the CNS (Central Nervous System). Anyway, to be brief, the deficiencies of these channels (more precisely - the deficiencies of their membrane trafficking) is usually the primary causes of schizophrenia and Alzheimers.*

My concern with the responses are the timeframes that are elicited by the contributors of this thread. Frankly, they're irrational. Proposing that in 5 or 20 years, while ideal, is inane. Yes, the research performed by myself and my colleagues is getting very close to understanding all of the mechanisms precisely, but keep in mind that there still may not exist a cure that will be readily available for decades - if at all. The only goal (that of positing estimates of time) this achieves is that it provides us with a twisted sense of false hope.

I thought I had a point to this (and I did when I started), but I suppose for now I'm complacent with begging you, the sensible people, to stop pegging timeframes onto topics that are as sensitive as these are. Maybe my real point will come back to me later..

*This is relatively NEW research information. It's in the process of being submitted to the boards for publication.


Posted by: Jeff | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:40 PM
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Mmmmaaaaaybe I'll stop pegging timeframes. Keep begging.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:43 PM
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i'll peg what i damn well wanna peg

i call economically viable pig farms on Saturn by 2025


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:44 PM
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I'm planning on bearing my own clone-baby within ten years.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:46 PM
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71: Severe mental illness is pretty shitty, isn't it NPH?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:50 PM
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i call economically viable pig farms on Saturn by 2025

Fuck you, I call pigs doing their own farming by 2032.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:52 PM
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79: Are you implying that he really IS Prince Hamlet? And just deluded about it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:53 PM
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Ladies and gentlemen, my apologies if I was a dick just now. I'm in usually in lab from 7 a.m. to about 10-11 p.m. (I'm here now, waiting for a PCR to wrap up) and when I read stuff like this on the topic(s) that I'm researching, my emotions sometimes get the best of me - especially when so much remains completely unknown but cures are expected (if not demanded) within 5-10 years.. Let us do our thing so we don't rush out a huge fuckup(like most pharmacuetical companies do) just to appease the masses.


Posted by: Jeff | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:54 PM
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77: Not enough Republicans on Saturn. Saturn votes for the NDP.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:55 PM
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we won't need farming by 2032 we'll all have uploaded ourselves into the internet


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:55 PM
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Jeff, you're cool. We normally don't like people who know what they're talking about to post here, but you had no way of knowing that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:56 PM
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Jeff, you were being totally fine. Just sweetly over-serious, which was ripe for teasing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:56 PM
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I call pigs doing their own farmingers by 2032


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:57 PM
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so she should be prevented from doing things she enjoys -- things which aren't hurting anybody -- because it is assumed that she would have previously believed that she shouldn't be doing them?

I would say let her go for it. It isn't like she is going to get better, I assume from the description, and be all appalled. As long as she isn't hurting anyone it seems mean not to let her be happy now.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:58 PM
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i'm in from 9 to 9


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:59 PM
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I'd take cancer over severe mental illness any day.

If you go the brain tumor route, you get two for the price of one.

there still may not exist a cure that will be readily available for decades - if at all.

Yeah, but we weren't (or at least I wasn't) talking about a cure; we're talking about treatment. Which already exists, and in twenty years will certainly be much better than the current standard of care.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 6:59 PM
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I'm generally in from 6:30/7 till 6 at night. And then grading at home.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:00 PM
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And these kids can't tell a differential equation from their assholes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:01 PM
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79, 81: I am clear on who I am and am not, which is a bigger deal than it once seemed.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:01 PM
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You guys are absolutely right. :)


Posted by: Jeff | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:02 PM
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90.1: I would prefer not to, thanks.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:03 PM
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92: For you maybe it's easy, Miss Smartypants liberal elitist PhD lady.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:08 PM
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73: But they often know it's happening and they're scared silly. There are some horrors almost beyond belief. Did you catch that article about the concentration camp survivors who are getting to relive it all over again as they lose touch with current reality?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:15 PM
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I cook in the lab on the hotplate next to my reactions and I pee in the sink. My benchtop is my bed and my lab notebook is my pillow.

Unfogged is my bedtime reading.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:17 PM
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92: In fairness, a lot of assholes look at least a bit like &delta.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:35 PM
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re: 36: "If I get Alzheimers I'm going to smoke a shit-ton of pot because then maybe I can convince myself it's just the pot."

Ahem.

"New research shows that the active ingredient in marijuana may prevent the formation of deposits in the brain associated with the degenerative disease.
Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in California found that marijuana's active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can prevent an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase from accelerating the formation of "Alzheimer plaques" in the brain more effectively than commercially marketed drugs."

"THC is also more effective at blocking clumps of protein that can inhibit memory and cognition in Alzheimer's patients, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics."

Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15145917/

Folks, this study was released in 2006. I find it amazing that I seem to be the only person who knows about it. There's also another study that shows smoking pot provides a protective effect against cancer. The bottom line is that marijuana is actually GOOD for you. I have early onset Alzheimers on both sides of my family, which puts me into the high risk group. Frankly, I'd be crazy not to smoke pot.


Posted by: steve macdonald | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 7:37 PM
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Anyway, to be brief, the deficiencies of these channels (more precisely - the deficiencies of their membrane trafficking) is usually the primary causes of schizophrenia and Alzheimers.

Don't be brief! Tell us more. What causes the deficiencies? What kind of membranes? What kind of channels?

100: I'm smarter than I know.

Actually there's plenty of evidence on other fronts that marijuana is good for you. Too bad I have all this shit to do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:07 PM
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88

"I would say let her go for it. It isn't like she is going to get better, I assume from the description, and be all appalled. As long as she isn't hurting anyone it seems mean not to let her be happy now."

And suppose it is the staff she is having sex with, is that ok too?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:15 PM
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102: it isn't, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:19 PM
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Staff aren't normally allowed to diddle patients, whether the patients are mentally competent or not. So we can exclude that case for other reasons.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:20 PM
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If you go the brain tumor route, you get two for the price of one.

Oddly, a colleague died of brain cancer and was lucid until the end.

On the other hand, my brother's wife, who died of breast cancer, had severe and weird dementia in her final years. She was usually lucid enough to avoid institutionalization, but was nuts, nuts, nuts.

In the best of times, she was a difficult person. I knew her for 30 years, and I was always kind to her, but she hated her husband's (that is to say, my) family, and made no attempt to hide it. It was only in last decade of her life that I suspected she might regard me as an exception to her loathing for my family, and only when her dementia hit that I realized she actually liked me.

As she degenerated mentally, she called the police and accused my brother of physical abuse. She was in such an incoherent state, though, that the police took her to a mental hospital.

She got out after awhile, but refused to return to live with my brother. Her eldest son, college-aged, refused to visit her, and she refused to allow the other two kids to visit if they came with my brother. The younger kids refused to go alone.

So the compromise was that I accompanied the younger two, because she continued to trust me. It was a weird, weird scene, with my 17-year-old niece intervening to protect her very vulnerable 14-year-old brother from the craziness, and with almost the entire visit spent with me making smalltalk with my insane sister-in-law. She was still quite capable of lucid smalltalk.

She sort-of-reconciled with my brother before it was all over, but only because my brother simply gave in to whatever crazy demand she made whenever physically possible. He remodeled the garage for her to use as a bedroom, for instance.

AWB's narrative in 62 is entirely understandable to me, and if she erred in unburdening herself, it's only because she might have been more comfortable using a pseudonym.


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:21 PM
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100: I know this journal; it's not the right place for it. Not that I'm suggesting "The Journal of Pot Studies" or "Progress in Cannibis", mind you, but it's not exactly an impressive place to publish an article from a quite august institution.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:43 PM
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106: Interesting. So, are you saying that the study is less than valid? I'm not arguing, but my background is in banking, not science. Am I puffing away for no reason?


Posted by: steve macdonald | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:56 PM
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104

"Staff aren't normally allowed to diddle patients, whether the patients are mentally competent or not. So we can exclude that case for other reasons."

Doctors maybe, I don't think there is a general prohibition. In any case you can make it random people off the street if you like.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:56 PM
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107: Am I puffing away for no reason?

That hardly seems likely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 8:58 PM
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Smoking the stuff might not be the healthiest of delivery mechanisms though.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:03 PM
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Sure, that's what they said about coffee. But I find that drinking it makes me want to pee all the time.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:04 PM
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I was just envisioning in great detail what it would be like to have a fuzzy mind, and not quite be able to get a grip on why events are happening.

I got a little weird insight into this recently. I've had thyroid issues for years, and so long as it's properly managed it's not really an issue at all. But... I got preoccupied by other things and quit paying close attention and the relevant health care professionals dropped the ball and things went way out of whack, which can cause mental impairment. Which I finally realized when, while attempting to visit my grandmother one day, I found myself standing on the porch of a house exactly one block away wondering why Gram wasn't answering her door. She has lived in the same house for my entire life and the house I was standing at doesn't even look very similar. Fine now, but yeah, few things are quite so terrifying as recognizing that you are losing your mind.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:07 PM
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110: problem solved!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:07 PM
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Does weed taste bad if you eat it? Affect the taste of brownies? Could you chop it into a burrito like cilantro?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:09 PM
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112: Ha! This happened to my whole family one night when driving into my grandmother's neighborhood. We pulled into the driveway, said, "They must have cut down that tree!" and rang the doorbell to find ourselves face-to-face with a nasty guard dog and its drunk owner. We were yelling, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER!" and freaking out, before my mom realized the house number was wrong. Oddly, when we got to Gma's actual house, they had indeed cut that tree down.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:10 PM
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114: there's plenty of ways to eat it; you can make butter with it and make tasty brownies, yes. You can chop it like cilantro, yes, if you like the taste (I do, but some people don't). I've eaten it just, like, on it's own, but I don't know that most people do that.

It's a lot less efficient to eat it, though, and it takes a lot longer to kick in. Vaporizers -- if they're set right -- produce no smoke, and at least based on my experience are much mellower on the lungs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:12 PM
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i confess i never tried marijuana
now after you pr its dementia preventive qualities i'm compelled to try it, at least once


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:18 PM
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Be careful read, it's technically illegal in this country.

Might want to wait until you're in British Columbia.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:21 PM
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hm, somebody was talking about eating it like cilantro chopped, i thought it's that widespread
i suspect my neighbour smokes it sometimes, coz a very strangely smelling smoke comes through the window sometimes


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:26 PM
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Aren't vaporizers illegal to buy? Are they available in the U.S.?

Thanks to Jeff and other knowledgable types for participating, BTW. I think the combo of providing actual knowledge and reviving everyone else's tastes for witty mockery of the newbie shows how good it is to have new posters.

Also, I plan to shoot myself when I reach 75.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:26 PM
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Vaporizers give it a unique and quite pleasant flavor, IMHE.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:30 PM
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Aren't vaporizers illegal to buy? Are they available in the U.S.?

No. Yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:32 PM
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NPH in 93: 79, 81: I am clear on who I am and am not, which is a bigger deal than it once seemed.

I wasn't making any kind of joke, just honestly commiserating.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:50 PM
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107: No, just saying it's odd. Apropos to the discussion, it's a little like seeing a nice car in a bad neighborhood. What is it doing there?

Mole/cular Pharma/ceutics isn't a particularly great journal and Scrip/ps has a great reputation. I don't know the reputation of Scr/ipps in other fields (molecular biology, etc.), but in my field (chemistry), its reputation is top five or ten.

That being said, I'll see if I can find the article at work tomorrow and read it. I'll post on this thread.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:56 PM
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107: No, just saying it's odd. Apropos to the discussion, it's a little like seeing a nice car in a bad neighborhood. What is it doing there?

Mole/cular Pharma/ceutics isn't a particularly great journal and Scrip/ps has a great reputation. I don't know the reputation of Scr/ipps in other fields (molecular biology, etc.), but in my field (chemistry), its reputation is top five or ten.

That being said, I'll see if I can find the article at work tomorrow and read it. I'll post on this thread.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:56 PM
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Dammit. Sorry for the double post.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 9:57 PM
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Doctors maybe, I don't think there is a general prohibition.

Shearer, you're back to being nuts. There is absolutely a general prohibition, not only in terms of the employment contract that everyone down to the lowliest direct-service worker is generally forced to sign, but in terms of state licensing requirements and even (gosh) professional ethics. Not to say it doesn't happen, but it certainly is widely disclaimed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 10:04 PM
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116 - eating the pot, it's a little complicated. Maybe that's why the stoners keep smoking it. If you chop it up like cilantro and put it in your burrito, you won't really get any THC in you. It's fat-soluble, so your only reasonable bet is in butter for brownies (quite tasty) or, like, oil on pasta (probably not so much).


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 10:17 PM
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128: you'd be surprised, probably, by the variety of fats you can get pot into. For instance, I've had absolutely delightful Eggs Benedict with pot in the hollandaise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 10:20 PM
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129: There's no place like stoned for the hollandaise.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04-15-08 11:37 PM
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When I was young and stupid (dumb enough to go into banking, anyway) I made the mistake of confiding to my family doctor that I was a pot smoker. I was rewarded with a lecture about how marijuana contained lots more carcinogens than tobacco and I spent the next three decades expecting a visit from the lung cancer fairy. Vaporizers were quite expensive (the one linked at 113 above is $140), and to get high from eating it required a far greater quantity of dope.

Then, again in 2006, I came across this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/25/AR2006052501729_pf.html

Money quotes: "The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.
The new findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30 years."

And, "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Needless to say, I was overjoyed. And just now, when I was locating the WaPo link, I also found this: "The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies." Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070417193338.htm


So it's beginning to look more and more like becoming a pot head was the smartest, or at least healthiest, thing I ever did. Maybe we should REQUIRE everybody to smoke pot for health reasons, just like we laced everybody's drinking water with fluoride a few decades back.


Posted by: steve macdonald | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:08 AM
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I'm planning on bearing my own clone-baby within ten years.

Yay, heebie clones! The solution for the chronic shortage of secondary school math teachers is at hand!

i confess i never tried marijuana. now after you pr its dementia preventive qualities i'm compelled to try it, at least once

Getting high with read would be a total trip.* Imagine the combination of the stoner penchant for non sequitur with read's utterly foreign (to us) cultural frame of reference. It would be a dorm room conversation for the ages.

*stoner lingo that was current ca. 25 years ago; possibly archaic


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 5:29 AM
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Clearly Jeff knows more about this than me, but I'm surprised by the pessimism around finding a treatment for Alzheimer's. Certainly it should be easier than cancer, right? I haven't heard any suggestion (other than in this thread) that there's actually more than one phenomenon underlying Alzheimer's.

I only keep up with this stuff via Derek Lowe's blog, but it seems like a hell of a lot of progress has been made recently in characterizing the disease; and vaccines have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is hard to do and promising. As neurodegenerative diseases go, the odds on finding more treatments for this one seem relatively good (which is not to say objectively good).


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 9:02 AM
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i've been to the lecture on memory, more prevention tips - good sleep, calorie restriction to delay general ageing, lower intracellular Ca in neurons by m2 antagonists, Ca inhibs
curry


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 9:48 AM
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I read the article. It's interesting, consisting of a computational docking study and biochemical assays and yes, THC does appear to inhibit the amyloid aggregation in in vitro studies. I tend to trust the senior author, who has a long history of working in the recreational drug area (for the other side. I believe his funding has been historically from NI/DA, even this study wasn't directly.)

DOI is 10.1021/mp060/066m, if anyone else cares. Remove the 2nd googleproofing slash.

I'm not impressed that THC beats FDA-approved drugs in the assays; they're not great drugs, but they're what is out there, which goes back to Jeff's 82.

Apparently, the senior author publishes every once in a while in the referenced journal. As I said, it's not a great journal and the article is out of place, IMO. Most articles in the journal have to do with the molecular aspects of drug delivery. I strongly suspect that the article was bounced out of a bigger journal or that he was stashing it someplace where it wouldn't get a lot of attention.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:35 AM
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So I just went and read the Wikipedia page, which is pretty good, and has lots of pointers to review articles. I agree that an FDA-approved treatment is pretty far in the future, but retain confidence that even with partial understanding, something that is either now in clinical trials or will be soon may turn out to be a treatment powerful enough to really improve the lives of people affected, if not normal brain function. FDA approval typically takes nearly 10 years. I knew a bit about one of the genes implicated in early-onset Alzheimer's which runs in families, so I'm no expert.

I can't tell whether Alzheimers is actually a single disease or a cluster of pathologies that have some feature in common, or even whether this known to anyone. Early detection and treatment to keep things from getting worse seem the most likely route to a therapy.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 10:56 AM
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So it's beginning to look more and more like becoming a pot head was the smartest, or at least healthiest, thing I ever did.

Unless your weed is laced with lead.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04-16-08 12:31 PM
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