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  • Posted by gharkness 6 months, 1 week ago
    Alzheimer's is more and more increasingly becoming identified as "Type 3 Diabetes," so take that into consideration. Activities that would tend to help avoid or ameliorate T2 Diabetes (reasonable restriction of carbohydrates, especially concentrated carbohydrates) are likely to assist with T3 as well.

    There is also some interesting research with administration of coconut oil in dementia. I am not saying there are any conclusions yet, but it appears that the research is looking good.

    Apologies for not addressing the original question but the Alzheimer's topic is actually of more interest to me. My bad :-)
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
      Very correct in the Type 3 Diabetes assessment. That was something I was going to add, as an Alzheimer's researcher.
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      • Posted by ewv 6 months ago
        Is Alzheimer's a harder problem than HIV? Has there been any progress with practical effects yet?
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months ago
          Alzheimer's is an easy problem than HIV. The mutations for HIV make it a constantly moving target. Shaohua Xu, one of my collaborators at Florida Tech, has done the best work on understanding the protein aggregation, despite the fact that one of his competitors' models won the Nobel Prize. Dr. Xu's work has elucidated a critical step that the Nobel Prize winner thought was unimportant.

          As for minimization of practical effects, not much progress has been made. However, I think that we now understand how it happens on a fundamental enough level that I expect therapies to be coming out pretty soon. There has been work that delays the worsening of the effects, and my father is living proof of it. He struggles, but he has lasted a lot longer than anyone expected.
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          • Posted by ewv 6 months ago
            I hope that new therapies come in time to help him. But going beyond stopping symptoms to reversing them is another big step.

            If Alzheimer's is easier than HIV, why are there already good treatments for HIV? Hasn't Alzheimer's been worked on for even longer?

            It's good that you are able to work on a problem that is theoretical and yet still has such momentous practical implications right now, including for your own family.
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months ago
              Alzheimer's has been worked on for longer, but HIV got a lot of money thrown at it back in the 1990s. HIV, like any other virus, can remain dormant for years; what researchers have been successful at doing is delaying the inevitable long enough such that perhaps some other problem is the cause of death.
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      • Posted by gharkness 6 months, 1 week ago
        Thank you for confirming that. I didn't want to come off as a rabid anti-carb person, but in fact, that is kind of what I am. At least anti-bad carbs. I suppose then you are aware of the personal research conducted by Dr. Mary Newport on her Alzheimer's-suffering husband.
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        • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
          No, I'm not, but the Type 3 diabetes comments come up pretty routinely at national conferences that I occasionally attend.
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          • Posted by gharkness 6 months, 1 week ago
            Makes sense. We (hubby and I) hear about these things because we aren't medical professionals, and so we have to get our info as hearsay. All I can say is, carry on! Learn lots!
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            • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...

              "UBE2A, which normally serves as a central effector in the ubiquitin-26S proteasome system, coordinates the clearance of amyloid peptides via proteolysis, is known to be depleted in sporadic AD brain and, hence, contributes to amyloid accumulation and the formation of senile plaque deposits." That quoted sentence pretty much summarizes the research and development path for Alzheimer's disease. We need to provide a supplement to make sure that UBE2A doesn't shut down completely.

              Think of UBE2A as the janitor that cleans up all of the extra amino acids after protein synthesis is complete. If that provided sufficient value to you, then consider financially supporting the Florida Tech Nanotechnology Minor Program as part of a value-for-value exchange.
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              • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
                Adding to my janitor analogy, if there is no janitor anymore, then the extra amino acids accumulate, and ultimately aggregate into insoluble proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease.
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 6 months, 1 week ago
    Great article. Thanks for posting.

    The Federal Government has no business being in business. It has specific, enumerated powers and research isn't one of them. If the People want to pass an Amendment giving the government the ability to tax us and waste billions on their cronies doing research (put Alzheimers and HIV aside, lets talk about influenza!). This is just another National Science Institute.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 6 months, 1 week ago
    Government screws up funding for research, just like it screws everything else up.Unless there is no cure for it, cancer should have been conquered last century. I suspect too much money is involved. When vast amounts of money flow toward a certain research it is hard to turn off the flow of dollars with a cure. Ask any Polio researcher.
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  • Posted by Esceptico 6 months, 1 week ago
    I am unable to find that part of the Constitution authorizing the government to do any research in medicine. I guess Shaffer was right. "The Constitution is that sacred document which prevents the government from doing all the terrible things it does." ~~ Professor Butler Shaffer
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
    Although I am funding my own biomedical research as a very wealthy man, there is no way in hell I would ever be able to afford to go through all the steps to get clinical trial approval from FDA. This is true even though my work should cut down dramatically on the number of animal and human subjects that would need to be tested.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 1 week ago
    Well said. But how to implement these ideas? To get rid of the FDA? To get the government out of people's lives?--I guess we must just slog ahead trying to convert people to Objectivism and free enterpise. And who knows how long that will take?---But I didn't know that the Soviet Union would collapse when it did. So maybe there is good hope.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 6 months, 1 week ago
    I am funding my own biomedical research, as expensive as that is, in tissue engineering, precisely because I am not going to be Robert Stadler. If you want to fund entrepreneurial biomedical engineering education, I promise to provide value for value, and will explain more if you ask.

    I can talk to you about Alzheimer's disease research. I have done some. My family has a strong history of Alzheimer's, so I am well motivated.
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 6 months, 1 week ago
      Can you really? I have had some slight problems with memory lately. I mentioned it to my neurologist
      (he should rest in peace) and he told me that every-
      body got like that after 40.--But who knows? (My father had Alzheimer's. He died about 10 years ago. I went to see him, but didn't make it in time. I was told he had been refusing food and drink. (I believe he also had back pain from a fall from his bed. Maybe it was a sort of suicide. I also had the impression he had been depressed awhile).
      (I did attempt CPR on the corpse, but you can't expect much success 7 hours after the fact).
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  • Posted by NealS 6 months, 1 week ago
    I won't comment on the specific issue of your post because I don't have the facts, and don't have the time to look into it right now. However, why does the government get into funding these things anyway? My guess is because they have this excess money that they get from us and have a need to spend it so they can get some more.
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  • Posted by 6 months, 1 week ago
    Great to see such a robust, intelligent discussion of these issues. I really appreciate it. I am going to read them again, now. I lot to learn.
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  • Posted by Abaco 6 months, 1 week ago
    There will be no cure found for Alzheimer's, cancer, no discovery of the cause of autism (while half the children born 14 years from now will end up with it - 85% of the boys). Nothing good will come from this mess. They lie. They cover up. They take the money and keep doing the same. Solutions will not be tolerated.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 6 months, 1 week ago
    Alzheimer's killed my mother and it was very slow and very ugly up until her very last stroke. By then she rarely knew where she was at.
    Makes a 70-year-old dino wonder if he shall receive a diagnosis of the same certain very ugly death.
    Contracting AIDs? Our former president may have lit up the White House with rainbow lights,
    but save for a rare accidental contamination, contracting AIDs is knida like contracting lung cancer due to smoking, another life style choice.
    As far as I know, you can't get Alzheimer's by putting something inside you, though rresearch may some day prove otherwise.
    Who knows?
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 6 months, 1 week ago
    Thanks, Walter. The broad thesis is easy to agree with. "Force and freedom cannot compete." Power and market are mutually exclusive. So, every political decision must be economically inefficient. We accept that axiomtically and I would be open to any empirical evidence to the contrary.

    That said, it remains that government funding of scientific research has a justification. As you said: "Force has a valid role protecting us against all criminals, domestic and foreign, who would harm us." It was World War II that convinced the federal government - as argued well by Vannevar Bush - that there is no telling what lines of research will have military benefits. Certainly, in 1923 no one was thinking of atomic bombs delivered by rockets. It was not even science fiction. So, the government should fund all the research it can afford. And the only way we know to judge what has potential and what does not is to accept the judgments our best academics.

    A contrary argument would be to rely totally on the spontaneous order of the free market. No market justiifcation existed for the atomic bomb project. The Nazi Germans, the USSR, the Japanese, all were incapable of it and we, the free peoples, had no need for it. People wonder why Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wore five stars. It was because of his analysis of the military industrial capacity of the belligerents. The free market works.

    But it works because it is multi-valued. In other words, no one actor decides broadly for many other actors. Each individual, each business, each household decides by their own standards. Among the benefits of that is the diffusion of cupidity. As you said: "The first scientists working on a disease entity, and publishing peer-reviewed results, were chosen, of course, to sit on the NIH and other government panels (“study sections”) to recommend grant funding. They tended to recommend proposals pursuing the line of research that had made their reputation, not lines of research that might challenge or overturn their work."

    The free market does not prevent that. We know that. Corporate boards make bad decisions because individuals err. Then everyone goes along. Call it "group think" - a warning label launched in Fortune magazine. I see it as the "Abiliene Vacation." No one wanted to goto Abiliene, but they each thought that the others did. It is not just evil Nazis and evil Communists who fall into line. Peter Keating was a heck of a nice guy.

    Objectivism is better. It is not so much the epistemology and aesthetics and politics, though those are the expressions. The essential is the sense of life. Ayn Rand's fiction - Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged - influenced many millions more than actually adhere to the specifics of the formal philosophy. The power of Objectivism rests on Ayn Rand's aesthetic appeal to people of independent judgement.

    So, for every corprorate board grouply thinking that there is no money in this research or that, we have a person somewhere who thinks that the money is not as important as achieving the goals of discovery and invention.

    We make a big deal out of capitalism. No system seems better. But it can be said that capitalism is not a "system" but the absence of system. It is spontaneous order.

    As for Alzheimer's you are wrong because you are relying on the wrong experts. "For Alzheimer’s, there is no treatment, no cure, no prevention. If you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and ask, “What can be done for me?” the answer, in bluntest terms, is: “Nothing.” . I think that if you open the question here, you will find a lot of answers: the right food, the right lifestyle; nutrition, supplements, exercise, brain games... And for all of that, perhaps the best professor I had died of it, despite food, exercise, and lifetime of brain games. Entropy kills. And there ain't no cure for that. (... or maybe there is...)
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    • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 1 week ago
      So a massive amount of government-controlled research is justified because corporations also make mistakes in directing their research funding, or because “there is no telling what lines of research will have military benefits”?

      Misdirected groupthink at the corporate level harms mostly the corporation’s stockholders. Misdirected groupthink at the government level forces all of us to pay for its mistakes, and spawns political initiatives such as “combating global warming” that cost us exponentially more in terms of government control over our resources.

      Military research belongs in the military budget, nowhere else. The atomic bomb was directed research building upon known processes (nuclear fission and eventually nuclear fusion) and with a military end in mind. Government health-related research has no such justification. It does not contribute to the mission of a limited government in preventing force and fraud. It belongs in the free market.

      The argument that “there is no telling what lines of research will have military benefits” cannot be justified in Objectivist terms. To accept this argument opens up multiple cans of worms, such as a vastly increased budget for a universal “free college education” on the grounds that it might produce the next Einstein, or vastly increased health-related subsidies on the grounds that they may save the life of a great inventor. You can even justify heavy spending on preventing climate change, on the grounds that “you can never tell” what will happen to the climate otherwise.

      The fact that you “can never tell” a specific outcome does not mean we should sanction any government intrusion into scientific research other than that directly necessary to the mission of a limited government. As Ayn Rand said, “Free scientific inquiry? The first adjective is redundant.”
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 6 months, 1 week ago
        You misunderstand me. I believe that you are reading into my post arguments that you want to have. I agree with everything you said, but none of it contradicts what I said because my intention is to look at root issues, not seconday effects.

        You are also wrong about the military need for medical research. Read about Walter Reed Hospital, but before you do, read about Walter Reed himself. It might be argued that we do not need government-paid military doctors, either; we could just let private agencies like the Red Cross handle war casualties. (Of course casualties during training might be a dfferent question, or maybe not.) If you want to discuss that rationally, based on the evidence, then we can do that.

        A basic error in your approach (and in Walter Donway's) is to look at the literal wording of Objectivist political mandates rather than the reason for them. A strictly limiting constitution is just a statement of principles. No piece of paper will protect you from the mob. That is the very reason that Ayn Rand insisted that deeper philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics) must precede poiltics. And that is the foundation supporting my post above.

        You misunderstood me as advocating for unlimited government funding for research when I did not intend that at all. I was only pointing out the flaw in the logic that there is no basis for government-funded research. Certainly, you must know the Springfield Arsenal. The rest proceeds from there. Rand said again and again that resolving such issues as whether the government can explore weaponizing germs - and defending against them - remains for the future. And we might be in that future of hers. So, let us discuss what is and it not proper government research.

        As for the fact that corporations are no smarter than governments, I pointed out that the marketplace limits the errors that people can make. It does so many ways. One way is by allowing and encouraging avenues of achievement for individuals who do not work well within corporations. Any examination of the history of successful enterprises demonstrates the differences between Hewlett Packard and General Motors -- and how the former came to emulate the latter, and what happened after that.

        As for the atomic bomb, you seem not to have examined the contradictory premises that led to such a horror.
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 1 week ago
          I was not reading into your post arguments that I want to have, I was arguing based on what your post actually stated – such as, “So, the government should fund all the research it can afford. And the only way we know to judge what has potential and what does not is to accept the judgments our best academics.” If this is something other than your personal viewpoint, I didn’t get the message.

          I do not have any objection to government-paid military doctors.
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          • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 6 months, 1 week ago
            Reading it again, it is clear to me that I was continuing Vannevar Bush's argument. You read quickly and thought you understood, but you missed it.
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            • Posted by  $  CBJ 6 months, 1 week ago
              I read that paragraph again, and while it may be clear to you it still isn't clear to me, and I suspect it is unclear to many other readers. In that paragraph and the following one, it is difficult to disentangle which positions represent your beliefs and which ones you ascribe to others. When you say "government funding of scientific research has a justification", I assume that the rest of your paragraph contains supporting arguments for that statement, and that you agree with Vannevar Bush's position. The paragraph that follows does nothing to dispel that impression. I still have no clear idea what your overall position is regarding government funding of scientific research.
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    • Posted by Abaco 6 months, 1 week ago
      "The first scientists working on a disease entity, and publishing peer-reviewed results, were chosen, of course, to sit on the NIH and other government panels (“study sections”) to recommend grant funding. They tended to recommend proposals pursuing the line of research that had made their reputation, not lines of research that might challenge or overturn their work."

      Guess who funds the NIH.....big pharma.

      Mull that over...
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