One of the values of social media is the fact that it is not gagged. Over the past, we have had papers rejected as our views did not fit in with the accepted norm. This bias is destructive to ongoing science. Particularly in the free journals that gain their support and rationale for survival from advertising patented drugs, this is extremely common. Many years ago, I wrote on the use of Glucosamine which was a little known agent. The set up was a whole page and a few days before the late editor phoned me to say they were pulling it for obvious reasons. Luckily, the paper was published and it did help promote Glucosamine in the use of Arthritis and many other illnesses which have never been fully investigated.
From the previous articles on Boron and particularly the possibility of its anti-inflammatory action might help Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) with the suppression of GSK-3, I became more interested in Alzheimer’s. Not only is it a challenging and devastating illness which robs many people of the enjoyment of their later years in life. The personal agony and the effect on families to see a loved one drift slowly to “brain death” while still being physically alive is devastating.
Playing every possible angle to get true unbiased attention, it is interesting to note that more than 5 million American’s are living with AD, 1 in 3 seniors die of AD, and the cost to health care and families providing support is vast. Every year the numbers of AD increases, it is a chronic disease with only downward progression for 8-10 years before a release with death. Some cases of AD live as long as 20 years.
With all our modern technology we do not seem to have a preventive, curable, or moderating therapeutic regimen. A number of studies by Big Pharma have proven ineffective after spending tens of millions of dollars. AD is not a new illness but increasing and more devastating than in the past.
I can’t say that I live in a sheltered environment but I have been out of the mainstream of Alzheimer’s Disease. The first question we must ask is “Why has this disease been so resistant to treatment?” The main focus of research has been on patentable drug therapy which has not proven effective. I reflected back over epidemics in the past like polio. Having grown up and witnessed the horrors of Poliomyelitis in the 1950’s with many deaths in advanced countries. Having as a student seeing people confined to iron lungs for the rest of their lives has left a deep scar on my psyche and we should be thankful that we can breathe and walk. What is interesting is that the support for research for a vaccine was not from a pharmaceutical company but by research paid for by the March of Dimes. Jonas Salk never applied for a patent on the vaccine. In passing, it is a shame that this is not taught in older grades in school as we have advanced so far in many aspects but not all.
This may seem like a long introduction but it is to position the use of non-patentable lithium. Lithium has been used medically and therapeutically for centuries, initially from springs. It was thought to be a tonic for many ailments. In passing, it is interesting to note that 7-UP, the soft drink, until the mid 1940’s contained lithium and the number 7 most likely suggested the atomic number for Lithium. An interesting fact in what is a truly fascinating story on Lithium was the comment in 1847 by Professor Garrod, who used Lithium for gout and also for what he described as “brain gout”. This is a subject that I need to follow up with as there is an association with the reduction of Alzheimer’s Disease in patients with gout. It seems that uric acid has a positive effect on the biochemistry of AD. I can’t say that I knew Garrod but we had a large professioral ward named after the great man at Bart’s Hospital.
As mentioned above, Lithium was used as a tonic in bottled water and some is still available. Lithium established a position in therapeutic dosages in the treatment of some psychiatric illness like manic depression. There are a number of scientific papers, often of a small number of patients, indicating that Lithium may help prevent, ameliorate, and treat AD. The majority of the papers are positive but not of a large sample size of double blind cases. One must ask where the funding is coming from? In investigating this I noticed many societies aimed at supporting Alzheimer’s research however funding for large double-blind studies like those done by the March of Dimes for polio is not forthcoming. Small studies will not convince the health authorities particularly the FDA that Lithium may be the answer to a crippling illness. Some cases have a genetic predisposition but the majority do not. As a random thought I should point out that Lithium has been removed from drinking water since the 1940’s.
In the previous comments with Boron and Lithium, a long term treatment of the doses used for manic depression may cause concern. This means that the traditional high doses are not likely to practical for use in prevention. The recent work by Mendes et al shows that in concentrations of 100 and lower Lithium can significantly down regulate the MmRNA expression of GSK-3. In other words instead of directly inhibiting the enzyme its level of production is reduced. This effect is specifically seen in the hippocampus which is of importance in the development of AD. So, this might mean that high nutritional doses of Lithium, perhaps 10-20 milligrams per day should be well tolerated and have a place in the prevention, treatment, and reversal of AD.
It is important to look around and see other supported evidence for the use of Lithium, test tubes, labs, studies do not make a perfect treatment. There is a considerable amount of work from Japan, United States, and Europe that demonstrate high nutritional Lithium in drinking water decreases the risk of violence and suicide. These epidemiological studies are unbiased and should point to the acceptance of Lithium.
This subject is crying out for a large double-blind study under independent authorities to evaluate to high standards the use of nutritional Lithium. Whatever degree of study one can envision it is nothing compared to the avalanche of Alzheimer’s patients needing healthcare.
I still have sad thoughts regarding the first patient I saw in an iron lung – it was a young woman with beautiful eyes, who had been in this life saving machine for 10 years with only one instance of being out of the iron lung to attend a play for 1.5 hours. Although she did not complain, her life was pure torment. All the things we take for granted – caring for ourselves, walking, breathing, sex, family, continuity of genes was not available to her. We owe all of this to the March of Dimes and Jonas Salk!
One should forget and it is difficult but focus on an independent, large study. There are enough societies around the world who could easily raise the money although in the past I have often wondered whether their focus is correct. The thought, like the girl in the iron lung, of gradually losing contact with family, reality, control of personal hygiene, bowels and bladder, and all your hard work disappearing should stimulate funding.
The answer, I believe, is in the use of Lithium, the studies show promise but are small, scattered, and of short duration.
The economic mountain that is just about to crash on our health care system maybe aborted by funding for a double-blind study. This reflects terribly on our society where everything is focused on diagnosis and treatment but very little on preventive nutritional medicine.
Although it was over 150 years ago, Garrod’s observation regarding gout and brain dysfunction might be true especially since patients with gout have less frequency of Alzheimer’s disease. This, one could argue, is a genetic balance of good and bad genes but it could be that uric acid crystals effect the progression of AD.
I find myself, from my extensive reading of this subject, rather depressed by the politics of Lithium. It is interesting literature to read from a scientific point of view, there are many pointers to Lithium. Even the New York Times ran a lengthy article on having Lithium in our drinking water and other papers have published similar articles. Why do we not listen? I have learnt a lot following the pathway of Lithium and AD, I feel we are not blind, the literature is there, the economics are there, but no one seems able to mobilize the forces for such a study.
Perhaps, President Donald Trump will persuade the government to pass a bill that studies into natural agents, such as Lithium, Boron, Niacinamide, will receive a large tax credit for the study.
No patent, no profit, with a legislative bill for a large tax rebate, this might stimulate the big drug companies to investigate natural agents and non-patentable agents. This would only be a small portion of the overwhelming burden of Alzheimer’s disease.
I appreciate the help given to me by Mark McCarty and others. In addition, Google, supplies many references to the work of Professor Garrod.
Perhaps this is a perfect planet, perhaps we have everything we need, we just have to look without looking only for profit.