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Its been one of winter's darker days with rain pouring down all day long, but I just saw something that brightened my day tremendously.

Cancer drug reverses Alzheimer's symptoms in mice, study says

By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
February 9, 2012

A drug that has been approved for the treatment of a type of skin cancer since 1999 appears to reverse Alzheimer's symptoms -- in mice.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine neuroscientist Gary Landreth and colleagues reported Thursday that bexarotene quickly cleared away beta-amyloid plaque, believed to cause the cognitive deficits of Alzheimer's disease, from the brains of genetically engineered mice.

As you may know I lost my Mother to Alzheimer's in 2010, so this is something very important to me, and all families touched by Alzheimer's.

This could also have profound implications for reducing the burdens of caring for the victims of Alzheimer's for the wider society. Alzheimer's has been a major factor in contributing to the rising costs of caring for elderly Americans. An elderly population segment that is expanding rapidly. At the same time that the rates of Alzheimer's among the elderly has been increasing at alarming rates.

Alzheimer's Facts and Figures

Deaths from Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Based on mortality data from 2000-2008, death rates have declined for most major diseases while deaths from Alzheimer'™s disease have risen 66 percent during the same period.

I see there were some 110,000 people with Alzheimer's in my medium sized state of Washington in 2010, and that number is expected to grow to 120,000 by 2020.
2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures pdf

With Alzheimer's, it is not just those with
the disease who suffer. Its also also their
caregivers.

* In 2010, 14.9 million family and friends provided
17 billion hours of unpaid care to those with
Alzheimer'™s and other dementias.

* The economic value of the unpaid care provided to
those with Alzheimer'™s and other dementias
totaled $202.6 billion in 2010.

* More than 60 percent of Alzheimer'™s and dementia
caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving
as high or very high; one-third report symptoms of
depression

10 warning signs of Alzheimer's

A magic bullet could reverse the inexorable course an incurable disease like Alzheimer's seems like a medical miracle to me. I just hope it can come true.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM PST.

Also republished by SciTech, Good News, and CareGiving Kos.

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