Alzheimer's Research Can No Longer Be Sidelined

Alzheimer's Research Can No Longer Be Sidelined
Posted by CN Staff on March 13, 2008 at 20:58:07 PT
By Joan Bakewell
Source: Independent
World -- It's good news for Terry Pratchett, Britain's highest-profile Alzheimer's sufferer. Alzheimer's syndrome is a disease of old age that could lie in wait for any of us and sometimes ambushes those who think of themselves as merely middle aged. Terry Pratchett is 59. The good news is that research is showing that cannabis slows down memory loss. The recent report from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has involved mice, but is now moving towards human trials.
This won't come as a surprise to America's Drug Watch Oregon, whose Marijuana Research Review has been publishing for decades the many investigations and tests going forward on marijuana. With 400 chemicals present in the plant it's hardly surprising it has diverse, sometimes contradictory, effects. Many of the Review's findings have come with substantial warnings that the ever-stronger forms of the drug common in the 1990s, carry a whole variety of risks: adverse effect on the immune system; interference with the capacity to control body heat; short-term memory loss; and an impaired ability to learn. Reports also found that smoking marijuana enhanced abnormalities in some multiple sclerosis patients. So this latest news is by no means a call to return to the weed by those for whom 50 years ago it was simply part of a free-wheeling lifestyle. There is an irony, though, in the thought that those same independent spirits now in their sixties may be needing it for an altogether more serious condition.The fact is the Oregon Health Division has just expanded the state's medical programme by adding Alzheimer's disease to those conditions that qualify for state-sanctioned marijuana use. Their 1998 initiative already allows it in cases of cancer, glaucoma, HIV/Aids, severe nausea, seizures, and persistent muscle spasms. But Oregon is not expecting a rush. A representative from among Oregon's 60,000 Alzheimer's patients calls for "an extensive scientific study... to examine both positive and negative effects". "That clearly has not happened yet, and we really cannot endorse it at this point," he said. The good news for Terry Pratchett is that work is going forward steadily to find a treatment.For me, the fear of losing my memory is even more haunting than the prospect of death. The older I get the more I realise I am defined by all that I have done and known, and when memories begin to thin out, something intrinsic to my sense of identity goes too. We can't recall everything that's happened: the brain would choke on its own superabundance. And there is no doubt some peace of mind to be gained in repressing traumatic and damaging occasions. I have always been suspicious of those talking cures that insist on retrieving long-dormant pain and suffering. But old age is made up of memories and living with them is saner than living without them. I sat with friends recently thumbing through old photograph albums in which we all figured. Each of us remembered different faces and circumstances. Each had forgotten different things. That is part of being old. And incidentally the final use for all those accumulating heaps of old snaps. Forgetfulness shades only gradually into memory-loss. The daily trivia begins to recur more often: where did we leave the keys, what did I come upstairs to fetch, have I told this anecdote to you before? Long before... or half an hour ago?So worry creeps up on us, wondering how soon to ask the doctor, go for tests. The British are more reticent than the Germans who apparently turn up early and are put on appropriate drugs sooner. Old people fear making a fuss, and are so often treated with casual disregard by society that they simply shut up and put up. This won't do any longer.The government spends on Alzheimer's research a mere 3 per cent of what it spends on cancer. Given the demographic trends that predict a steady rise in the proportions of us over 50, Alzheimer's deserves a higher priority. Pratchett has been afflicted for two and a half years: he has just finished his latest novel and begun the next. He believes that in future a combination of lifestyle and drugs may hold back the development of his Alzheimer's into the seriously disabling dementia we all fear.Alzheimer's is a private ailment and a private dread. How many of us have aged parents drifting silently into a world of unknowing. But with people like Pratchett speaking out and scientific researches making the headlines the Government must be left in no doubt that this is an issue with a growing constituency. They must not let it slip their memory!Source: Independent (UK)Author: Joan BakewellPublished: March 14, 2008Copyright: 2008 Independent Newspapers (UK) Ltd.Contact: letters Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 14, 2008 at 12:19:03 PT
Off Topic: SXSW on DirecTV Channel 101
Since the news is slow and I thought some here might be interested in checking out SXSW.Coverage of SXSW 2008
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Comment #12 posted by museman on March 14, 2008 at 10:53:54 PT
beer and donuts
Donuts and coffee while 'on duty' then crazy blitzed out brain-dead-drunk after duty. The basic cop itinerary. Of course then the drunks go home and beat their wives and children before passing out, and waking up the next day to hassle poor people and cannabis smokers.I can't see how some people can associate the two together - I mean alcohol and cannabis - as if just because poison is legal, cannabis should be also considered a 'legalizable poison' just by association, or some kind of alcoholic denial of the difference.At this point, the association between cops, and other predatory powers, and alcohol use and abuse is absolutely astounding, but yet cannabis and its users are demonized while the beer and donut crowd just keep partying it up at everyones expense.Do you want your children exposed to these armed, brain-dead alcoholics? God forbid your daughter should ever marry one!Alcohol and cannabis aren't even on the same page, maybe not even the same book. No comparison.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 14, 2008 at 10:35:01 PT
Please tell Mrs. Runruff Happy Birthday!I think that channeling creative thoughts is easier for Cannabis consumers. The Internet was created I think by Cannabis consumers.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on March 14, 2008 at 10:31:02 PT
Thanks for the smile. I could just imagine seeing Petunia walking around and showing off and enjoying her prom dress. Periwinkle and white chiffon! Lovely and sweet... as all seventeen year old girls should get to be.
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Comment #9 posted by runruff on March 14, 2008 at 10:22:10 PT:
Remember the important stuff!
March 12 was my sweeties birthday. God forbid I should forget! Anniversaries-Hello, I remember only if I want to live!Here at Hunky Doreyville we have four scoobs, three kittys a swimming pool size pond full of fish and we can't forget Putunia our 17 year old desert tourtise. She is a teenager and the size of a large salad bowl and growing. These guys need to be walked and fed every day. [This year
Petunia will need a new prom dress.] She looks real sweet in periwinkle and white chiffon but I don't know.I have been writing my childhood autobiography for about two years now. My mother says it is amazing to her how much I remember and with so much detail. I remember clearly back to age three.I was exposed to an encyclopedic volume of knowlege while making my video. I was very stoned the whole time. I was stupid stoned, having a great time, got the job done and remember most of what I learned while doing this work.I don't buy into the memory loss theory. I even used to get stoned in college and study and listen to lectures. I recieved As and Bs in everything. 3.4 gpa. Not bad for a stoner.My wife says I am often silly and corny. If this is a side effect of smoking herb then on this I must plead guilty. 
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 14, 2008 at 09:41:50 PT
Very interesting. Back when people used LSD in the 60s and 70s learning to control thoughts, so a person wouldn't have a "bad trip", probably helped many people learn how to keep runaway negative images in check. What we dwell on we can become. If that is true then trying to dwell on good things will create a good spirit in a person if this makes sense.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on March 14, 2008 at 09:37:20 PT
Alcohol memory loss and brain function.
Alcohol makes you tend to not give a damn... about anything.Cannabis, on the other hand, doesn't cause that... in me, anyway. It's like, "What can I do about that?" and "I can do something about that." It was delightful (my word of the day, apparently).
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on March 14, 2008 at 09:33:58 PT
Controlling one's thoughts...
I have been fascinated with that ever since I was a child and first learned that in Christianity, even thinking about a sin... such as an adulterous desire, was as bad as actually doing it. I wondered how in the world you were supposed to control that tendency to lust and stuff.Cannabis did help me learn to control my thinking more than any one thing. When I first started smoking it, someone told me, to always remember that any thoughts I was having that might be disturbing could be being caused by the cannabis and not to forget that...ever. That got me to really paying attention to my thoughts. That was so interesting to me and I thought about it enough and experienced it enough that I felt and learned that I had more power to control my thoughts and thinking than I had ever realized. I did learn to control my own mind more effectively than I ever imagined possible because of cannabis use. I also learned to fight off the short term memory loss thing, under the influence or not. If while under the influence, I got distracted and some thought escaped me... I stopped and MADE myself remember it. It worked. I had to pause and backtrack quite a bit at first... but I kept playing my self designed personal mind control game with my own mind. It worked. I overcame the forgetfulness under the influence and improved in such matters out from under the influence as well. That forgetfulness that can, not always, happen, while under the influence is caused by distraction and delight, by the way, as I'm sure most of you realize. I learned to run my mind back to the distraction and back a little more and pick up where the distraction came in. It was really a delightful thing to learn.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 14, 2008 at 09:06:42 PT
Memory Loss
I have seen alcohol rob the brain power of people like the egg in the frying pan but cannabis is different. Cannabis seems to help people forget what isn't important to remember but it helps them to remember what is important. I believe people who have lots of mental stress will have more problems then someone who puts things in perspective. Cannabis is a peaceful herb and helps to calm the mind and maybe that's why people don't seem to suffer from dementia like others. That's just my opinion. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on March 14, 2008 at 08:56:09 PT
If I'd consumed more cannabis...
I could remember what I was going to say! :0)The Republican and I were just discussing a book and whether we'd read it or not at about the same time I was reading this article. I couldn't help but think, "Dang! If I'd consumed more cannabis in the past, I could probably remember if I'd read that book or not." But... in discussing the book... I was right about what I remembered about the book... so maybe it helped anyway.Alzheimers is a horrible disease. I have a friend that has the inherited, exceptionally vicious kind running in his family. It's struck some of them in their forties. It kills them and it's awful. Apparently he's escaped it. Thank God. He's in his early seventies now and has shown no sign of it.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 14, 2008 at 08:23:44 PT
Alcohol vs. Cannabis
I have seen family members and others with alcohol dementia but I have never seen a person who doesn't drink or take other drugs but just uses Cannabis that has developed any type of dementia at all.
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Comment #2 posted by museman on March 14, 2008 at 08:12:00 PT
good news 
Once again, real non-governement funded research proves once again how stupid and inane the prohib claims are.All these years we've had to listen to the lame jokes about 'short term memory loss' when, as I have long suspected, our memories have been protected by our cannabis use, rather than the other way around. Of course if you are/were an american beer drinker, all those aluminum cans(as well as the alcohol) add up to a shitload of dead brain cells, so I will speculate that further research will prove a direct link between altzheimers and alcohol consumption -particularly american beer -which hasn't been real beer since before my time.Alcohol should be a controlled substance, if there are to be any.
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Comment #1 posted by greenmed on March 14, 2008 at 05:21:29 PT
related article
"Alzheimer's Patients May Benefit From Cannabis-Derived Medicines"
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