August 10, 2010

Alzheimer's conundrum

The battle against Alzheimer's seems to be reaching some fruition.

It seems researchers have come up with definitive biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.

Parallels are being drawn between these amyloid and tau markers as a predictor of Alzheimer's and cholesterol as a predictor of heart disease.

So, the dilemma is also pretty inherent. Having cholesterol is a good predictor of heart disease. However, not everyone who has high cholesterol will develop heart disease.

Similarly, if a person has amyloid and tau, that doesn't mean that the person is sure to develop Alzheimer's in the future.

Drug companies out there are all frantically trying to develop drugs of course.

Will we see a day when there will be something akin to atorvastatin for people having these biomarkers?

It's going to be a dangerous balancing act to do a cost versus benefit analysis pertaining to any drugs that apper that proclaim to help 'prevent' Alzheimer's.

But it will be really wonderful if such a linear correlation or cause-and-effect relation is definitively proven and then drug(s) are developed to counter those degenerative processes in brain cells.

Hopefully, this task won't be akin to finding the mythical elixir of life or the fountain of youth.

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