Saturday, 23 June 2012

Tamoxifen again

I've blogged about the possible link between Tamoxifen and memory/dementia:
here and here.

This is a link to an interesting article on this topic:

Another interesting article  -  see the abstract at the start:

Perhaps most interestingly, Tamoxifen appears to be a drug that researchers turn to when they wish, for whatever reason, to impair the memory of mice: as this link shows  -  and it's an interesting article in its own right: 'After being given tamoxifen (perhaps best known as a breastcancer drug) for eight days, an otherwise normally developing mouse had more than 80 percent fewer new neural stem cells in its hippocampus (a structure in the brain's frontal region linked to short-term memory).' And whereabouts in the brain is Alzheimer's first detected? In the hippocampus, I believe.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Beacons of hope

There will be people who come across this blog hoping to find some answers, and maybe some hope.

As anyone who cares for someone with dementia, or who has dementia will know, answers and hope are in short supply.

However, in my search, I have found some glimmers of hope  -  if not for S, then maybe for others who are just starting out on this journey. For new or irregular readers here are links to some stories and summaries which I have found interesting and, in some cases, inspiring.

Morris Friedell

Herpes       more     the research     a possible herpes vaccine
(It's worth noting that 'the research' is the most viewed post in the whole blog.)
Steve and Mary Newport


The nuns' study

Friday, 8 June 2012

Life on hold

On online forums carers, and not just carers for people with dementia, complain about their life 'being on hold'. It's pretty obvious really  -  life is never on hold. The sun rises and sets, you get a day older, your life goes on. What people are really saying, I guess, is that they are unable to live the life they would wish because of the circumstances they find themselves in. But this is a feeling that many, many people have, not just carers. You could say that it's part of the human condition, one of the things that makes us human even  -  it's not a problem your cat has.

It's more understandable maybe in carers than in whinging teens or workaholic thirty somethings who, in all likelihood, still have much of their life ahead of them (though we mustn't forget that people of all ages can have caring thrust upon them).

There's no solution of course  -  you're bound to feel like this at times. But if you try to carry on finding life interesting, even the difficulties that you're facing and possible ways of lessening them, and to get satisfaction from something that in more normal circumstances might pass unnoticed, like seeing the person you are caring for laugh (if they can) or actually completing a task on your mental 'to do' list.

And then of course there's music, friends, family, reading, memories..........

And that life that you could have been leading might not have turned out too well anyway.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Centenarians who avoid dementia

This is another example of research that, like the nuns study, suggests that some people avoid or delay the symptoms of dementia 'despite the substantial presence of neuropathological markers of Alzheimer's disease'. This dates from 2004.

One can only agree with the conclusion. I have not discovered yet whether anyone has followed this up or whether, like other promising lines of enquiry, it has been ignored.

Dementia-free centenarians.


Geriatrics Section, Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



A small percentage of centenarians, about 15-25%, are functionally cognitively intact. Among those who are not cognitively intact at 100, approximately 90% delayed the onset of clinically evident impairment at least until the average age of 92 yr.


To review current and past findings related to the prevalence and incidence of dementia amongst the exceptionally long-lived.


Findings from the various centenarian studies, world-wide, are reviewed.


Neuropsychological and neuropathological correlations thus far suggest that there are centenarians who demonstrate no evidence of neurodegenerative disease. There also appear to be centenarians who despite the substantial presence of neuropathological markers of Alzheimer's disease did not meet clinical criteria for having dementia, thus suggesting the existence of cognitive reserve. Epigenic studies suggest a significant familial component to these survival advantages.


Centenarians are of scientific interest as a human model of relative resistance to dementia.