Profits–not cures–for Alzheimer’s disease

Over 20 years ago, I attended a big government event in Washington, D.C. where science bureaucrats announced the “Decade of the Brain.” At the event, they claimed we would conquer brain and neurological diseases over the next 10 years. And they proudly proclaimed massive increases in spending on research for brain and nervous system illnesses.

But clearly, it was just a publicity stunt to get more new funding from the taxpayers for more of the same old research.

During that “Decade of the Brain,” science made little–if any–real headway regarding treatments. Instead, we endured 10 years of disappointing clinical drug trials, with virtually no progress toward curing or preventing brain diseases.

Now, this past February, the Obama administration announced another “Decade of the Brain.” But here again, it’s just a publicity stunt to spend more of your tax dollars.

In a moment, I’ll tell you more about how the government continues to waste your money on failed treatments for the No. 1 brain disease facing our country–Alzheimer’s disease.

But first, let me tell about what we know does work…

Earlier this year, I told you about a startling new Alzheimer’s disease study largely ignored by the mainstream press. For this study, researchers compared vitamin E to a drug commonly prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe AD patients. And the vitamin completely outperformed the drug!

Interestingly, only the vitamin E group showed improvements. But the drug group as well as the combination drug+vitamin E group showed zero clinical benefits.

The drug may interfere with how the body metabolizes vitamin E.

So, not only does the drug not help treat AD. It negates the effects of a basic nutrient that does work!

Government health officials and mainstream medicine appear more concerned about touting the imaginary dangers of vitamin E. They warn you to keep your doses of vitamin E low–probably too low to do any good. (I’ll explain more about the minimum levels you need to reap the benefits of vitamin E in the upcoming June issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.)

Of course, brain changes can occur 10 to 20 years before you experience any overt symptoms of AD. So, by the time doctors diagnose you with dementia, too much damage has already occurred.

So early prevention not only makes sense…it’s critical.

But government health officials and mainstream medicine continue to ignore vitamin E as a viable AD treatment. The also ignore the apparent risk of lowering cholesterol levels for the brain.  And they certainly don’t give credit to the role vitamin D and B complex play in protecting cognition and neurological function.

They simply want you to take “new” drugs to prevent a disease they can’t treat.

So, what are some of the new drug approaches proposed to prevent dementia?

And, do they present opportunities for true prevention?

One approach targets the formation of a protein called beta-amyloid. In AD patients, this protein clumps into plaques in the brain. It disrupts the flow of information across nerve synapses and causes nerve cell death. But–unlike vitamin E–these drugs fail to stop the progress of AD.

So now, they’re trying the failed beta-amyloid drugs out as “preventative” drugs. They can then give these failed drugs to younger people, before they present with AD symptoms. Just look at what’s happening in Yarumal, Columbia…

In this small town, men and women get AD in their late 40s–about 15 years ahead of the norm. Researchers discovered they carry a gene variant associated with early-onset dementia.

In a clinical trial that began in 2013, men and women in their 30s from this small town who carry the gene began taking a drug developed by Genentech. Researchers hope the drug will prevent AD by blocking or slowing the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain.

Since people with this gene form beta-amyloid earlier in life, anti-amyloid drugs are supposed to help in this genetic form. I worry if the study shows even a glimmer of promise, doctors will one day begin doling out AD drugs to anyone like candy to “prevent” AD. Like they do now with statin drugs, with their claim to “prevent” cardiovascular disease.

In another study, researchers will focus on older adults who don’t carry the Colombian gene, but who have an increased risk because their brain scans already show evidence of beta-amyloid.

But remember, both these studies simply recycle failed anti-amyloid drugs. These drugs weren’t effective as treatments. So what makes them think the drugs will work to prevent AD?

Furthermore, why not put these patients on a vitamin E regimen? We already know vitamin E slows the progress of the disease in AD patients. Why not see if it can prevent the disease in these at-risk patients?

A third study, called the TOMORROW trial, began this year. This large, primary-prevention trial involves 6,000 healthy men and women between 65 and 80 years old.

This study is the only true prevention study currently on the books, since it focuses on healthy people. (The other two “prevention” studies I mentioned are really just early drug clinical trials. And they’re simply using the same, failed drug on people who already have an earlier stage of the disease.)

This true, primary-prevention trial should provide some important new information. It will look at two different genetic risk factors. Plus, it will try to prevent early cognitive impairment, before it’s too late. Lastly, it will also try to evaluate the effectiveness of a new anti-diabetes drug (pioglitazone/Actos) to delay early cognitive impairment.

Although I’m concerned about the safety issues associated with pioglitazone, I’m still interested to see the results. You see, this study looks at dementia differently…as a result of high blood sugar. As you know, I call Alzheimer’s disease “Type III diabetes.” And I’ve always said that lowering blood sugar looks like a good way to prevent dementia as well as diabetes.

Beyond all that, the TOMMORROW study is also the first to consider the possible benefit of supporting the cellular mitochondria in the treatment of dementia. Pioglitazone has a potent effect on mitochondrial function. But as you know, so does the natural product Ubiquinol (CoQ10). As well as South African rooibos. [insert hyperlink:]

Technically, we are still in the middle of the “Decade of the Brain.” (The second one now.) But you don’t have to wait for yet another decade to go by to learn about the importance of nutrition in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. You can find answers right now.

Just maintain a diet filled with healthy meats, fish, eggs, and leafy greens. Don’t let your cholesterol get too low. (So, stay off statins if you possibly can.) And to supplement your diet, look for high-quality vitamin E, D, and B complex. You can also consider a Ubiquinol (CoQ10) supplement. And lastly, if you have Type II diabetes, make sure to keep your blood sugar under control with the help of a qualified physician.



“Alzheimer’s-plagued Colombia region is focus of drug trial,” LA Times, 12/13/2012