welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Friday, November 16, 2012

alzheimer worm


there he or she is the alzheimer worm
yesterday i got to hold a petri dish full of these
alzheimer worms
i wrote about them recently when i wrote about my composting
worms i had put in my garden

holding that petri dish up to the light and seeing those
little worms that were the size of this .
i will admit that i was in awe
i did get sweaty and my heart rate picked up as i
held that dish


what if they held the answer that we have all been looking for

it will be pure science by researchers like those at this
ut lab i visited that will provide the answer or the piece of
the puzzle that is needed for a cure or treatment for
alzhiemers disease

the worms called scientifically c.elegans
are transparent so that you can actually see with a microscope
the neurons that run down their bodies
there are a limited number of them so if one is damaged
you can easily see it

they also have only a limited number of genes i think it was 230+
so when you add a research gene its easily identified on the
worms limited genome
humans have millions of genes

these worms only live 7 days so when a gene for alzheimers is
inserted into their genome its affects will be noticed in 3 days
in humans it will be 20-30 years
in research rats it will be months and sometimes several years
before the genes effect show up

these researchers inserted a alzheimer gene into the worms
genome that produces a protein that accumulates in humans
who have the gene and they develop alzheimers

remember this process occurs over years in humans
but in only 3 days in the alzheimer worm
so its easy to try different treatments to see if those drugs or
chemicals or foods can prevent the protein from forming
thus potentially preventing or slowing down alzheimers

they also have been able to attach fluorescence to these genes so
they will fluoresce hopefully purple since thats the alzheimers
associations color
if this alzheimers protein is produced

then it can be identified simply with the microscope instead of doing
a more lengthy and expensive procedure to identify the protein

in fact hundreds or thousands of chemicals or compounds could
be tested at one time and if there is fluorescence then that can
be measured easily

so drugs or chemicals that are new or old drugs could quickly
be evaluated and within 3 days you will know if they have
potential to work against alzhiemers disease

one drug that was tested was the anticancer drug bexarotene
when it was applied to these alzheimer worms the protein
was not produced and there was no degeneration of
neurons in the worms ie those worms didnt get alzheimers

transfer that to humans
if you gave bexarotene to humans in the early stage or even
earlier than that then they would not develop alzheimers
or develop more alzheimers
hence a cure or treatment for this disease

in fact in 2013 this drug bexarotene which is generically
available now will be tested in a study with humans next year
so we should soon have an answer on this soon

the alzheimer worm research which is not published yet implies
that it may work
from the research lab to the clinical trials
thats how this mystery will be solved

thanks to the research scientists at ut austin for giving me a tour
of their lab
and giving me some hope for the future

the organicgreen doctor

1 comment:

  1. Dad - Great blog today. Very interesting report, and glimpse into what these labs are doing for research.

    - your favorite youngest son