Compound reverses Alzheimer's in minutes

Researchers at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) gave an Alzheimer's patient an injection of a compound called perispinal etanercept and noticed a "dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect" within minutes of the injection.
“It is unprecedented that we can see cognitive and behavioral improvement in a patient with established dementia within minutes of therapeutic intervention,” said [Sue Griffin, Ph.D., director of research at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)]. “It is imperative that the medical and scientific communities immediately undertake to further investigate and characterize the physiologic mechanisms involved. This gives all of us in Alzheimer’s research a tremendous new clue about new avenues of research, which is so exciting and so needed in the field of Alzheimer’s. Even though this report predominantly discusses a single patient, it is of significant scientific interest because of the potential insight it may give into the processes involved in the brain dysfunction of Alzheimer’s.”
Link (Via Look at This)


  1. I wonder what would happen if they injected someone without established dementia. I’m thinking super-human cognitive ability and higher scores.

  2. I’m thinking it would cripple the immune system of a normal brain.

    So you could be real smart while you died.

  3. The actual pre-pub article:

    And a video (linked at the end of the PDF):

    At one point in the video, one of the people being interviewed (the wife of the test patient) makes the comment, “It’s like science fiction!”

    Also, the other interviewee, apparently one of the people involved with doing the test, echoes the question posed by DGHILTON, above, regarding what would happen if he took it and whether it would make him super-brainy. An off camera voice adds that maybe she should try some.

  4. This is bad. Why?

    Lack of proper, scientific study and wide public appeal for more research. Lack of peer review.

    The same straight-to-the-public approach was used for:

    1: A recent “free energy” machine;
    2: “Irreducible Complexity”
    3: cold fusion
    4: left as an exercise to the reader to fill in.

    Bad, M’Kay? Perform more studies, with controls, and with followup.

  5. Would like to see peer review as well, It looks like it was a small group, but hope against hope!

    @#1– Alzhimers is thought to be caused by the bodys inability to clear “junk” proteins that accumulate in the brain. If your don’t have alzheimers, I dont think it would do much, and the whole spinal cord injections thing would really suck.

  6. while i appreciate news of “major” medical and scientific breakthroughs, i can’t stand how they are hyped in the mainstream media, as if each new breakthrough is THE panacea for some specific ailment/condition/syndrome/whatever.

    this is a perfect example, and the recent news about certain sufferers of autism having a mutation in chromosome 16. i work at a pediatric genetics clinic for a hospital, and as soon as that hit CNN and the AP wire, i was inundated with calls from patient’s parents wondering if we “did the chromsome 16 test.”

    report the news, but don’t give people false hope with a screaming headline and then burying the real facts and statistics in the 10th paragraph.


  7. I’m trying not to get my hopes up here, but this is the best thing I’ve heard since Terry Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s hit the news last month.

  8. Whoo Hoo!

    I may die of cancer because of this fucking drug, but at least I’m going to stay aware the entire time!

    Can’t wait to see my doctor next time I have to go in for my yearly colonoscopy…I’m certain he is going let me know there might be a positive after all! Well…other than not having to be in a wheelchair :-)

  9. Enbrel is also a very potent drug for those suffering from the very debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis. Enbrel is also EXTREMELY expensive – A few hundred dollars per injection – and most RA sufferers need one to two injections per week.

    We can only hope that this discovery might drive the price of the drug down to a more affordable price for all who benefit from what it does. Currently someone really close to me spends about $10k a year on $45k salary.


  10. Certainly more studies need to be done on this. I think it was a limited study of 15 people with most showing improvement. Even if only 50% showed improvement, that’s better than a lot of drugs out there. I just saw a study where the placebo was 14% more effective than the drug itself.
    This is a first step. Most times in studies like this it’s not nearly as impressive, so I think that may be why it was published this early. If there’s no ill effects on the patients in a set period of time, I’m sure this will get approval for a larger study.
    The problem right now is that its an off-label use of the medication, which makes it harder to do a large study off the top, show that it works and you’ll get your approval.

  11. 2008 New Year’s Resolutions

    – More time on work, less time on blogs
    – Drink less
    – Learn to play guitar and/or air guitar
    – Do something about the crisis in Darfur
    – Lose gut
    – Cure Alzheimer’s

    Feelin’ pretty good about this year so far and it’s only the 11th! Gonna knock off early and get a beer.

  12. Whoa! Somebody tell Terry Pratchett!

    I hope this works for selfish reasons: I need at least 30 more Terry Pratchett novels to last my lifetime.

    Please work. Please.

  13. I inject Enbrel in my thigh twice a week for Ankylosing Spondylitis. I don’t feel any smarter. But seriously, it blocks a protein created by your immune system called Tumor Necrosis Factor that causes damage to joints. I wonder if there have been any studies establishing a link between Alzheimer’s and various rheumatic illnesses.

  14. @ Clif Marsiglio, #11: My doctor tells me that people with autoimmune diseases just have higher rates of certain cancers and the cancer scare had nothing to do with the drug. That wasn’t exactly good news, but it was a relief knowing I wasn’t injecting myself with a carcinogen.

    @ Takuan, #13: Sadly, that doesn’t work with drugs like Enbrel. They have a limited life span and have to be refrigerated. They’d never survive the trip.

  15. GREY —

    The biggest problem is that the drug kills your body’s natural reaction to things it should be reacting to. This includes things like ‘opportunistic infections’ — you might get a cold you just can’t shake — all the way down to cancer. I believe the academic definition of cancer is a mutation that has replicated 4 or more times (I study the mind, not the body, so I’m probably wrong). Generally you have these mutations all the time, but the body does something about them after the first or second mutation…these sorts of drugs tell your immune system to ignore this to some extent and as such, you are about 10X more likely to get certain cancers because of it.

    But it is definitely not the disease but the drug…at least from the literature I’ve read. Not that I can complain…I still keep my old wheelchair in my living room as another chair :-) Without the drug, I’m not walking and most likely sleeping 16 hours a day. I’ll gladly take another chance at life and not worry what might happen, because I know what will happen otherwise.

  16. @22

    a damned shame. When I hear stories like this and then think of the billions spent on killing so a handful can benefit from oil stocks…

  17. Given the choice between dying of Alzheimer’s or Cancer, I think I’d pick the latter.

    Still, that’s a horrible choice to make.

  18. Well spoken, schmod, but that’s a decision we don’t get to make. Whether or not one likes the thought of having one’s ass wiped when it needs it, it more than likely will happen whether one wishes it or not.

    Having cared for my mother after a stroke, and now for my m-i-l, after a long life and dementia, my advice would be to die now, die young, don’t allow yourself the humiliation.

    The good thing about Alzheimer’s though,…you get to meet new people every day.

    The bad thing; you can’t remember how to wipe your own ass.


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