Alzheimer’s – a cure in sight?
Watch the TED talk below:
Agusta Deter, was the first person to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost 114 years ago. In the time since we have had little improvement in treating it. Alzheimer’s effects more than 40 million people world-wide. If we live to the age of 80, our chances of getting it are roughly 50%. Samuel Cohen spoke at a recent TED talk about his team’s research.
“Today, of the top ten causes of death worldwide, Alzheimer’s” Samuel Cohen says “is the only one we can’t prevent, cure, or even slow down.” Samuel goes on to give more staggering facts about the lack of funding for this disease, and makes a brave claim: “…we can cure it.”
Today we believe that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by proteins that are improperly folded. Stephen gives the analogy of a piece of paper with sticky goo on the back, while the front of the paper has none. This paper is then folded into a piece of origami. He states later that in Alzheimer’s patients, both sides become sticky and the protein is then not folded properly causing big clumps and plaques.
Stephen Cohen’s team then set out to try to fix this problem. With their diverse group of scientist they have managed to find a new class of drugs focused on one of the steps in protein process. On stage Stephen demonstrated a video of worms in three groups.
Group A were healthy, Group B Had improper protein clumps like in Alzheimer’s, and Group C had improper protein clumps but had been treated with their team’s drug. Group 2 showed little promise as to be expected. The worms were shriveled and looked like they had pieces missing. Group A and C, however, both seemed to be teaming with life.
Here is a link to the TED talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/samuel_cohen_alzheimer_s_is_not_normal_aging_and_we_can_cure_it