National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

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November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Here are a few key statistics listed on

  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. with over five million Americans living with the disease.
  • Every 66 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s
  • One in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s or other dementia
  • Almost 2/3 of people with Alzheimer’s are women
  • By the year 2050, 16 million Americans could be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

These numbers are frightening and experts project an acceleration over the next several decades. There are some promising studies being conducted that show significant advancements in slowing the disease (as of now, there is no cure.) Time magazine featured an article on the latest experiments conducted by researchers at Stanford University:

“Stanford scientists have pioneered a process called parabiosis, in which young and old mice are connected with the same blood system. In the first studies, they were surprised to see that the young mice started showing signs of older metabolism, and chronic diseases. The next studies, in which the older mice not only were connected to the young mice by blood, but also given infusions of the young blood, were even more eye-opening. The older mice started to show improvement in their memory, namely their ability to perform mazes and find a specific target after a period of time.”

Based on these results, another research team decided to perform the same experiment on people. The outcome was promising: volunteers who received plasma from young people showed measurable improvement in basic functions such as, arithmetic to balance finances and shopping independently. The experiment suggests that plasma from younger subjects has a regenerative influence on brain health. Additional studies will be required to replicate the results before scientists can make any conclusive pronouncements on proven efficacy to slow or reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Other reports have dubbed these studies as “Vampire Therapy” taking a more controversial slant on the process (e.g., drawing plasma from umbilical cords). Some scientists have injected a dose of caution in becoming too optimistic as trials have involved a small amount of volunteers up to this point. The neuroscience community has yet to acknowledge it. Still, these experiments have produced some intriguing data about the working properties of plasma and its capacity to revitalize certain functioning, even in short duration.



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