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No, not a cure, but a potentially efficacious treatment to reduce symptoms and maintain cognition. The Journal of Neuroinflammation reports that fifteen Alzheimer’s patients received substantial benefit from being treated with a drug normally used to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Here’s a case study:

This report details rapid cognitive improvement, beginning within minutes, using this same anti-TNF treatment modality, in a patient with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Rapid cognitive improvement following perispinal etanercept may be related to amelioration of the effects of excess TNF-alpha on synaptic mechanisms in Alzheimer’s disease and provides a promising area for additional investigation and therapeutic intervention.
For those who would like to read about the advance in real people’s language, here is a UK newspaper piece on the report. And here’s the Telegraph story:

After being injected in the spine with a treatment for arthritis called etanercept, the 89-year-old could remember the date and his doctor’s name and say where he was - which he had been unable to do only 10 minutes earlier. The patient was given a further five injections one week apart and improved consistently, although he still had problems with simple maths and money.

A pilot study of 15 patients at the University of California, Los Angeles, last year showed an improvement of symptoms six months after treatment with etanercept.
This is a good reminder that there is a lot of research going on out there and that embryonic stem cells do not offer “the only hope,” a phrase that, for increasingly obvious reasons, we hear far less often from the hype artists of Big Biotech.

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