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View Diary: Good News from Alzheimer's Researchers they may have found the magic bullet (164 comments)

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  •  that would be the Dr. Abram Hoffer.... (35+ / 0-)

    ... who was a friend of Dr. Humphrey Osmond, who in turn was a friend of Aldous Huxley, and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Interestingly, Hoffer & Osmond also hit on the idea of using niacin as a treatment for schizophrenia, based on some specific biochemistry involving adrenal hormones. This had some clinical success but was not readily replicable so their hypothesis remained unsupported as far as mainstream medicine is concerned. However, today the role of adrenal hormones and their byproducts is recognized for certain types of chronic stress, and may prove to be of interest in the study and treatment of PTSD.

    Schizophrenia is starting to be considered a neurodegenerative disease, so it would be most interesting if research protocols on schizophrenia and alzheimer's could be developed to further test Hoffer & Osmond's hypotheses under modern conditions.

    Hoffer & Osmond got their start in research on psychedelic drugs (LSD, psilocybin, etc.). That entire area was basically shut down for over 30 years, but the FDA has recently become quite a bit more reasonable in authorizing human-subject studies, typically involving psilocybin. These compounds are valuable tools for cognitive science research, so the new FDA climate may lead to additional discoveries with wider applications.

    One more thing about niacin. In extremely large doses there is a risk of liver toxicity. So individuals who wish to start using it should do so carefully, starting with smaller doses in the 50 mg. range and increasing the doses slowly over time. Initially it will take a much smaller dose to get the "flush" reaction. As the body acclimatizes to it, a larger dose will be needed to get the same reaction, up to a plateau that varies per individual.

    But in any case, people doing this should recognize that they are basically engaging in research with themselves as guinea pigs, so it's wise to read up and exercise prudent precautions along the way.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 07:39:25 PM PST

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    •  Good stuff G2. The degenerative (11+ / 0-)

      aspect of schizophrenia is a promising research path. The fact that Alzheimer's is growing so much and very little progress has been made to improve the progress or prognosis, it will attract more bucks for research. Additional benefits from other diseases like SP will also help the research dollars.

      The niacin effect has other benefits such as reducing homocystine levels. Trick for calming the flush is lo dose (81 mg) aspirin 30 minutes before the niacin. A nuisance for a lot of folks. BTW, reducing the dilatation to a less dramatic level does not eliminate the effect and might even be better for the blood vessels and skin.

      I am getting somewhat positive on the research into nutrient control of medical problems. Starting to gain some significant ground from broader knowledge about the research. Just found out I probably have a genetic disorder contributing to my weight and mental fog. Control: methyl form of folate, ~$5/mo.

      My all time favorite of this type of miracle was the subject of the movie Lorenzo's Oil. Fatal genetic disorder in boys solved by using the oil in their salad dressings, etc.

      Re the new info on brain regeneration. Not sure that regrow is inaccurate. The anatomical parts are replaced by growth from the areas that are still alive. Dead heart muscle (MI) is replaced by scar tissue, which diminishes the pump efficiency. Some lost neural tissue can be replaced by functional tissue. The brain can also use old neural pathways that are little used to take on activity of destroyed paths. This was the only way we thought the brain could work around lost tissue until recently.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:13:54 PM PST

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      •  I agree about neural regrowth... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sydneyluv, semiot, GreyHawk

        .... basically brain cells regrow but slowly, and meanwhile other cells take up the signal processing to route around the damage.

        So there is a degree to which damage can be reversed over time. Though this should not be a temptation to do things such as get roaring drunk, which causes a loss of brain cells each time.

        It appears that the niacin flush is useful for (or at least correlates with) reducing cholesterol levels, so to my mind the trick here is to get the dosage adjusted to produce a mild flush a couple of times a day, and just keep doing that long-term. That dosage level (e.g. 50 mg, 2x/day) is also above the threshold for neuroprotective effects.

        As for combinations involving aspirin, best to ask one's doctor particularly if taking other medications.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:20:24 PM PST

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    •  I checked with my doctor about my dosage (5+ / 0-)

      For my body weight I only take two 500mg per day. My husband took four 500mg per day.

      Scott Walker's Wisconsin: in Milwaukee's poorest corners infant mortality is higher than that of the Gaza Strip, Colombia & Bulgaria.

      by FlamingoGrrl on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 08:25:46 PM PST

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