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Friday, January 27, 2012


I had two postings last year on Alzheimer's (Alois Alzheimer, left),  Part 1 and Part 2.  Basically, the question was:  Does seafood cause Alzheimer's?  The answer was not conclusive, but worrisome, especially as I live in Honolulu, surrounded by the largest ocean.  Coconut was offered as a possibly remedy.

Well, a new possible solution has been advanced by Seth Herzon (right) from Yale, whose team synthesized a compound called huperzine A, (above) naturally found in a moss from China, Huperzia serrata.  While we all have walked through Chinatown shops of weird potions, and this medicine has been known and used thousands of years for fever, swelling and blood disorders, a particular treatment has only gained credence for memory loss since 1996.  Essentially, the plant is ground and the active molecule is somehow extracted.  It seems to work.

All  the current medications for Alzheimer's barely check the degradation. Huperzine A actually stops the progression of the disease.

The significance of the Herzon solution is that a stable, reliable and economical source of huperzine can be synthesized in the laboratory with inexpensive chemicals.  Huperzia serrata (left) takes 20 years to grow, and the resultant potion costs $1,000/milligram.  Herzon indicated that his method might cost as low as 50 cents/mg, about the amount required by a patient/day.

However, the medical profession and the Alzheimer's Association do not recommend taking huperzine A.  Herzon himself indicated that much work remains to be done.  I'm not aware, though, of a more promising option today for this mentally debilitating ailment that does a lot more than incapacitate an individual.  The whole family is affected.

The Dow Jones Industrials fell 74 to 12,660, with world markets also almost all down.  Gold jumped $18/toz to $1739, while oil remained relatively steady, the WTI Cushing Spot at $100/barrel and the Brent Spot at $111/barrel.

Tropical Cyclone Iggy will make a right turn south southwest and skirt the coastline of northwest Australia with hurricane force winds:


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