Friday, November 15, 2013

New Hope for Neurological Diseases Like Alzheimer's

Recent Research on Alzheimer's

Dr. Jerry Cuttler is  a distinguished nuclear scientist with a life-long interest in dose-response curves. Recently, he emailed some people (including me) links to research about Alzheimer's.  Researchers are investigating the use of radiation treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

This research is very recent---as I understand it, the academic papers are still wending their way through various review processes.  Full disclosure: the results shown in this presentation are still a long way from being tested in humans. Second full disclosure: the results shown here seem very hopeful to me, and that's why I wanted to share them as a Friday video.

Research Summarized
  1. The researchers took mice that had been bred to develop Alzheimer's.  
  2. The mice developed Alzheimer's, with its characteristic plaques. 
  3. Researchers irradiated half of each mouse brain...and watched the plaques shrink substantially!  
The brain tolerates radiation well, and the mice were basically healthy after the treatment. (However, it's also hard to do an IQ test on a mouse ;-))

They irradiated half the mouse brain because the extent of the plaques varied so much between one mouse and another. Because of this variability, comparisons between mice would have been a very poor research method. With this method, one half of the mouse brain served as the "control."  Here's the video.

Cuttler sent links to two other videos on this subject. These videos are shorter and show actual mice and actual researchers (not presentation slides).  I encourage you to watch them. 

Most people rarely hear anything about the peaceful uses of radiation, how nuclear technologies improve our lives, or any advances in nuclear medicine. Here is something hopeful.

A hat tip to ANS Nuclear Cafe.

This is a nuclear matinee. The idea for a Friday matinee is stolen from ANS Nuclear Cafe: it often shows a video on Fridays. A recent video showed the Tour de France---well, no, not really.  The video showed the "Tour de Reactor Vessel through France": The Journey of the Flamanville Reactor Vessel.

To see more great nuclear videos, go to the ANS Nuclear Cafe blog and search on matinee.