Alzheimer's disease and Schnabel's new book

Damien Broderick (
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 10:46:44 +0000

At 11:54 AM 2/16/99 +0100, Anders wrote:

>"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

>People are discovering new stuff
>about the disease quite quickly right now, and especially the
>properties of the beta-amyloid precursor protein are fascinating

Especially fascinating and rewarding is Jim Schnabel's wonderful new book FOREVER YOUNG: SCIENCE AND THE SEARCH FOR IMMORTALITY, London: Bloomsbury, 1998. The first half is an enthralling New Yorker-style essay on the embattled quests by Drs Jim Rogers and Pat McGreer, and eventually Dennis Selkoe (who might get a Nobel for this work, I guess), in tracking down the ways in which beta amyloids do their dirty work.

Jim Schnabel wrote several absolutely delightful earlier books about fields at the margins of science and lunacy, which are carefully not cited anywhere in the PR for this latest one, notably DARK WHITE about UFO abduction claims and REMOTE VIEWERS about military and CIA experiments in psi/spying.

He also wrote an early New Scientist paper (19 June 1993, pp. 22-6) on Rogers' theory that Alzheimers' is basically a result of massive auto-immune inflammation of the brain, an `arthritis of the brain', which might be halted by judicious use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and eventually by a targeted drug like those that in the lab inhibit the injurious cleaving of the precursor APP to yield beta amyloid.

Two such drugs start human clinical trials this year in Athena and Lilly labs. `If everything goes well,' writes Schnabel, `larger-scale trials will start [2000]. And, let's hope, a drug to prevent amyloid accumulation - and thus, perhaps, Alzheimer's disease - will be available at pharmacies around 2004' (p. 79).

No cause for despair in all this!

Damien Broderick