Good News On Alzheimer’s Disease | 25 September 2018

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia. The biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease is age with most cases being in people over the age of 65 years old and the risk increasing with age beyond that. With life expectancy increasing, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s Disease has grown considerably, and the fact that there has been no way of halting the condition has been of great concern. It leads not only to the loss of years for the patient but also to the loss of healthy years. For the families and carers, it can be a very demanding journey with impact also on their physical and mental wellbeing.

Recently Dr Stefan Weiss and his team of researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand announced that they have discovered an antibody that effectively targets the proteins that leads to amyloid-beta plaque formation which severely damages brain cells in Alzheimer’s Disease.

They administered the antibody nasally twice a week for 8 weeks to mice who then showed improvements in memory and cognitive function as a result of a reduction in the formation of amyloid-beta plaque formation. Their study was funded by the SA Medical Research Council and was initiated in 2015.

Dr Weiss and his team are now planning Phase 1 of clinical trials with 30-50 volunteers with Alzheimer’s Disease. The team is hopeful that the administration of this antibody to Alzheimer patients will result in significant improvement of memory and cognitive functioning. If so, they would aim to get regulatory approval for a nasal spray to slow down the progression of this disease that has hitherto been impossible to treat effectively.

*Reference from Cape Times, 4 September 2018 by Valencia Govindasamy. 

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News in this Day and Age | 5 February 2018

Many people tell me how they try to screen out the news because it is dominated by seemingly intractable problems that make them feel anxious and depressed.

This is understandable but it is also important to note that there are many good stories too…

This one was covered in the Cape Times in a report by Nicola Daniels. It showed a photograph of a young man in his graduation gown having been awarded a B Ed degree in further education and training from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

According to the report he had spent “half of his life on the streets, sleeping on shop stoeps, and a portion in shelters”.

He was gradually absorbed into the family who “heard his story and saw he was bright at school…(and) just wanted to give him a better life”. After the death of his mother he became a permanent part of their family.

This year he is starting his teaching career at a local high school in Wynberg.

This is a shining example of the ability of individuals to overcome difficult circumstances with support and opportunity given at the right time. For all the destructiveness we see, there are perhaps even more acts of kindness, generosity and courage, and we should seek these out as they help us keep a hopeful and balanced view which is important for both our own wellbeing and that of others..

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