How ineffective are current Alzheimer’s disease treatments? Quite. So much so, in fact, that David Cameron, the Conservative former prime minister of the United Kingdom – a supposed BFF of Big Business and one can only deduce, Big Pharma – called out the pharmaceutical industry for its “failures undermining dementia research and drug development.” A huge multi-billion-dollar industry being called out by a world leader isn’t something that happens every day.
But then again, Cameron’s sentiments have plenty of merits. Per Scientific American, dementia drug research has failed miserably. In a mega-study investigating 244 drugs across 413 clinical trials, researchers found that just one drug was approved. In other words, 99.6 percent of the experiments amounted to nothing. Just this past January, another company discontinued not one but two Alzheimer’s drugs during the final stages of clinical trials.
So, what is going on? Well, it’s one thing for a politician to lambast an industry for their lack of progress and next-to-nil results; it’s quite another to pinpoint and act upon the catalysts of dementia. It certainly doesn’t help that the drug industry is so entrenched into the health care apparatus either, as this discourages looking at alternative methods of care. Mix in public ignorance about natural remedies (yes, including marijuana) and the outlook doesn’t appear favorable.
But researchers may just be edging ever closer to a real solution to the Alzheimer’s problem – and it isn’t in the form of an expensive pill. What is it, then? Well, if studies are to be believed, it’s the use of cannabis.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some interesting findings concerning the use of cannabis and Alzheimer’s disease. We’ll briefly touch on the problem of Alzheimer’s in today’s society as well as the problems posed by conventional dementia treatments.
ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE: AN OVERVIEW
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by a gradual loss of memory, learning ability, communication, and judgment. In some cases, these cognitive functions decline to a point where the person becomes entirely dependent on caregivers for daily activities.
Alzheimer’s is typically found in those over the age of 65, of whom approximately 1 in 14 adults are affected. The highest concentration of patients with the disease are those over the age of 80, with 1 in every 6 meeting the criteria for diagnosis. This type of Alzheimer’s, also known as Late-onset Alzheimer’s is the most common, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all cases.
Only 6 to 8 percent of patients develop symptoms before the age of 65 – a condition known as early-onset Alzheimers – with those affected having a family history of the disease.
The rarest form of Alzheimer’s is called Familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), which is believed to be wholly inherited. In affected families, members of at least two generations are found to have had Alzheimer’s disease. FAD accounts for less than 1 percent of all Alzheimer’s cases.
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms are classified into three categories: mild, moderate, and severe.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MILD ALZHEIMER’S INCLUDE:
- Difficulty completely once-routine tasks
- Impaired sense of judgment
- Impaired sense of direction or getting lost
- Increased anxiety and aggression
- Lethargy and lack of purpose
- Memory loss
- Monetary difficulties
- Poor decision making
- Repeating the same questions
MODERATE SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:
- All of the symptoms mentioned above
- Further deterioration of memory
- Poor judgment and worsening confusion
- Requiring assistance when doing simple tasks (e.g. bathing, grooming, using the bathroom.)
- Significant changes in personality and behavior.
SEVERE SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
- All of the signs mentioned above
- Losing the ability to converse or speak
- Complete dependence on others for many tasks
- Declining physical abilities (e.g. inability to walk or sit up straight, rigid muscles, etc.)
PROBLEMS ABOUND WITH DEMENTIA DRUGS
It’s not just that so few drugs are approved for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; the problem is also that they are ineffective and downright counterproductive in just about every conceivable way. Let us briefly discuss the problems with current dementia treatment. (Read Full Article)