Groundbreaking Research Shows Reversal of Alzheimer's Symptoms in Minutes
A recent report in Science Daily is brewing excitement throughout the Alzheimer's community: The Journal of Neuroinflammation published a study that showed a reversal of Alzheimer's symptoms within minutes of administering a therapeutic spinal injection.
The injection consists of etanercept, a molecule that reduces the amount of TNF (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) in the brain. TNF regulates the brain's neural impulses, but elevated levels can disrupt brain function. Higher levels of TNF have been associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Although the published study discussed just one patient, the researchers found similar results in others that received the spinal injection. Subjects ranged from having mild to severe Alzheimer's disease and showed significant, sustained improvement after receiving the treatment.
Etanercept is FDA-approved for treatment of a number of immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, but it's not currently available as a treatment for Alzheimer's; it's still being investigated as a potentially safe, efficacious approach. But Dr. Sue Griffin, a prolific scientist whose research provided the basis for the current study, called the findings "unprecedented" and called for immediate follow-up studies.
This is the kind of news that stirs up many emotions for me: excitement for the positive results, awe of the scientific community, and wistfulness that my grandmother couldn't have been part of such a study. But most of all, I feel hopeful that someday there will be a world without Alzheimer's, and determination to continue doing what I do until that day arrives.
Illustration of Neurons and Neural Impulses © Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, National Institute on Aging