Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Prospective Alzheimer's Drug Builds New Brain Cell Connections, Improves Cognitive Function of Rats

Jack Boyd
10/13/12
Bio Honors/Davies C Block

Sorensen, Eric. "Prospective Alzheimer's Drug Builds New Brain Cell Connections, Improves Cognitive Function of Rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121011090653.htm>.

            Researchers at Washington State University have successfully synthesized a drug that could possibly help repair some of the damge done to the brain by Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and affects cognitive thinking and brain function. It is severely traumatic for the brain and can often result in the death of the victim. It affects 1 in 85 people worldwide, including 5.1 million people in the US. It is caused by plaque buildup in the brain which affects how cells in the brain communicate with each other. This lack of blood flow not only slows the cells functions but also damages it. This drug is a protein molecule small enough to pass through the blood barrier of the brain. The protein helps to rebuild brain cells damaged by the disease. It had a 90% success rate on the lab rat, hopefully it has a similar effect on humans although it is still far from clinical trials. This drug doesn’t necessarily slow down Alzheimer’s but it does repair the damage done by the disease.

            The article is describing how much potential this drug has and the hopeful future it brings to many people suffering from Alzheimer’s. This drug will have a huge effect if it proves successful in clinical trials. It provides a beaming ray of hope in the medical field as somebody learned how to make a small enough molecule to break through what was thought to be the nearly impossible blood barrier of the brain which is meant to keep out foreign chemicals such as drugs. I chose this article because this is a disease that affects millions in our nation, but also around the world. It is one of the most severe diseases in my opinion because this disease takes your mind before it takes your body.

            I thought the article was well written although has a few discrepancies. It was loosely written. There wasn’t a lot of cohesiveness between paragraphs in my opinion. The author could’ve countered this by developing bridge sentences between paragraphs in order to set up the next paragraph. Other than that, I’d say that the author did a fine job at explaining a difficult topic in ways that can be understood by people without knowledge of neurofunctions.

3 comments:

  1. From Luke Geiling:

    Jacks Response was truly fascinating and groundbreaking. In his response, on thing jack did that came across beautifully was the way he describes Alzheimer’s. His description of the disease was not too complex so that you cannot understand what it was although not too elementary. A second point jack makes that was well presented was how this drug is so important. He writes about how this is a drug that is small enough to get through the blood barrier that is put in place in order to keep out unknown substances. I also thought that jack spoke well about how the drug provides a scene of hope and how it is something that can change people’s lives. He connects the medical world to the world and the life of people. One thing I learned from his response is how the disease Alzheimer’s effects and changes your body. He goes into detail about how it is the buildup of plaque. This build up makes your brain’s blood flow slow down. The lack of blood flow makes the brain not able to have communication between cells. This leads to lack of normal brain functions. Another thing I learned from his response is how wide spread the disease is. Jack says that it affects 1 in every 85 people and 5.1 million people in the US. Before reading the response I had no idea how widespread the disease was. I would recommend for jack to go into more detail about the chemical makeup of the drug. I would talk more about what kind of protein it was and what the steps where to designing and the coming up of the drug.

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  2. Harry Pyle 11/14/12
    This summary of the article “Prospective Alzheimer’s Drug Builds New Brain Cell Connection, Improves Cognitive Function of Rats” by Jack Boyd was both interesting and insightful. First of all, I thought it was very intriguing how much potential this drug has and the hopeful future it brings for many people suffering from Alzheimer’s. For a while, there has been no cure for this terrible disease and finally something may be showing promise. If this drug were to be successful in clinical trials, it would be a major step forward for the medical community and the world as a whole. As Jack said, “It affects 1 in 85 people worldwide, including 5.1 million people in the US” and many people die from it each year. Once again, if we were to eradicate this disease using the vaccine that proved to be successful, many lives would be saved and lots of money could be saved from health care costs. As human beings, we would be healthier and wealthier. I also found it interesting how this disease works; “It is caused by plaque buildup in the brain which affects how cells in the brain communicate with each other. This lack of blood flow not only slows the cells functions but also damages it.” Biologically, this would be a very hard process to overcome due to its very small window of operation. With the rise of the new vaccine, it is interesting to see where the future of medicine is going and how much can truly be accomplished to help the human body survive.
    I thought Jack wrote a very interesting and thought-provoking response. His description of the process of Alzheimer’s and how the vaccine worked was both understandable and detailed. He did a good job of analyzing the article and presenting it in a way I could comprehend. I also enjoyed reading his reflection and thoughts about the article itself to compare to my own thoughts and ideas. In the future, I would suggest that he try to connect this to other areas of science to give a “bigger picture” effect. Overall I thought Jack’s response was great.

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  3. Jack's response to this article was truly fascinating because this new drug has so much potential to change so much of science today and help millions of people. I think the way Jack described to drug was interesting and he made all the ideas of the drug clear. He also showed us how the drug could help millions and he made it clear just how many people are affected by the Alzheimer's brain disease. I also like how Jack went through and discussed how the article could have been better written, and how they could have explained their ideas more clearly. I also like how Jack gave us numbers in his analysis so we could understand just how extraordinary this drug really is. I think that Jack should have asked some questions in his response such as what was the control group for the experiment, or who would they use this drug on first? I also think Jack could have done a better job explaining what Alzheimer's brain disease is. Overall I think Jack did a great job describing this new drug and made it interesting for us to read.

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