Re: Alzheimer's disease...

Anders Sandberg (
16 Feb 1999 11:54:22 +0100

"Murray Propes" <> writes:

> Hello All, I just completed a two week Alheimer's disease clinic
> elective. After speaking to several neuropathologists who feel that
> Alzheimers disease is an inevitable fate for all that live long enough

Well, this view is not uncontroversial. I think in other places the consensus is that the disease is indeed a pathological rather than natural part of aging.

I think we will know soon enough. People are discovering new stuff about the disease quite quickly right now, and especially the properties of the beta-amyloid precursor protein are fascinating (a strong ACh-release inhibitor, has nootropic properties) and suggest that one cause might be erroneous metabolism of this substance.

> My point is just that any chemical which radically extends human life,
> but is not lipophilic enough to cross the blood brain barrier, will be
> far worse than no treatment at all. Murray

If it doesn't change the way the brain ages, it obviously will not radically extend life since other neural aging processes would shorten it (including things like neurons randomly dying, leaving no replacements).

However, smuggling substances past the BBB seems quite feasible (I posted about a paper where they did that with NGF a month ago), so I don't think the BBB will be the major problem for life extension.

It might turn out that aging isn't an unitary process, and we will have to treat whole clusters of disorders as they are discovered, and then new limits will emerge as people manage to age some more. That would be tiresome and tricky, but it is possible.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y