Documents > Science
Preventing dementia: how the most promising approach
is still being suppressed - and what you can do about it.
The Appeal is picking up momentum, but time is running out!
Dementia care in developed countries costs more than the treatment and care of any other disease, and it’s increasing at a terrifying rate. There’s no cure, and there’s very little knowledge of how to prevent it.
A drug to prevent it is the Holy Grail of the pharmacological world, but once the brain starts to shut down, the damage looks likely to be permanent and irreversible.
So you would expect any new leads, no matter how tentative, would be overwhelmed with offers of funding. And you’d be absolutely wrong.
The narrow view - Big Pharma’s vested interest in dementia research
The main direction of research into dementia and how to treat it focuses on drug therapy that could slow down, or even perhaps stop, its progression - but only once it is diagnosed. If a successful treatment can be found, then any company holding the patent can write its own check, anywhere in the world.
In contrast, if the condition can be permanently prevented, then the potential profit is likely to be considerably lower, even though the socioeconomic benefits would be enormous.
At present the drug companies and charities such as the Alzheimer’s Society concentrate their efforts and research on treatment. International initiatives, such as the Alzheimer's Disease Cooperative Study, is a $100 million, 70-member consortium based since 1991 at the University of California San Diego.
Drug company Eli Lilly, a member of this consortium, recently announced that its previously unpromising drug, solanezumab, appears to have a possible disease-modifying effect on patients with mild Alzheimer's disease, and their research is now moving on to a large-scale Phase III trial.
In the private sector, Alzheimer’s Research UK has announced it is to invest in a $100m new Dementia Discovery Fund, and aims also to raise Global Clinical Trials Fund, aiming to raise £20 million for both Phase I and II drug trials and for investigating life-style approaches to at least reducing the symptoms of dementia.
The British government is attempting to grab the high ground and rush - belatedly - to the front of the public sector response to the dementia pandemic. It launched ‘ The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia’ in 2012, and in February this year earmarked £300 million funding for research, under its dementia awareness strategy,
So there’s plenty of funding coming on line that could provide the breakthrough that is desperately needed if we are to prevent the impending collapse of our health care services through the sheer numbers of dementia victims and those who have to care for them.
A different path - a cheap and simple solution
But there’s one curious approach that’s missing from all this frenetic activity. The most promising line of research into actually preventing dementia is being ostracised, and public funding withheld.
Prof. Chris Exley, the leading world expert on the role of aluminium in human disease, has spent the past 30 years understanding how this apparently harmless element can cause such a devastating condition as dementia.
It is now clear that newly available forms of aluminium in water, food, cosmetics and many other products can accumulate in the brain over many years.
When it reaches a critical threshold level, it triggers a cascade of abnormal biochemical reactions that lead to the development of the characteristic pathological symptoms of dementia.
But he has also discovered that the aluminium that is building up in our bodies can be removed by silica, present in some spring waters. When he gave silica-rich drinking water to patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, he found that some showed evidence of recovering their memories.
He recently told me that his results are more convincing that those reported for solanezumab by Lilly. He is now ready to carry out a limited clinical trial to provide hard research evidence of the effect of his treatment. Yet he can’t get any funding - all official sources appear closed.
A nasty taste - Chris Exley and the Camelford water poisoning incident
In part this may be due to his involvement in the notorious Camelford Poisoning incident in Cornwall, UK, in 1988. When the area’s public water supply was accidentally contaminated with very high concentrations of aluminium - up to 620mg/l - the government attempted to cover up the whole incident because it planned to sell of the public sector water industry a few months later.
When the health authorities refused to collect evidence of the widespread human and animal harm that resulted, and especially when people started to die with early-onset, rapidly fatal dementia, Chris Exley collaborated with us to provide convincing evidence of the role of the aluminium from that incident in the deaths of a number of patients, many years later.
The British health establishment has a long memory, especially when shunted into a corner by inconvenient evidence!
Crowdfunding - giving the people ownership in clinical research.
So Chris has been forced to call for funding from those at the sharp end of the dementia problem - the people themselves. He has established a Crowdfunding Appeal for funding to set up a ground breaking ‘People’s Clinical Trial’ to show that his treatment works.
By giving ordinary members of the public ‘ownership’ in the Trial, he ensures that there will be no commercial or political pressures on the study, and that the results will be available to all.
How much will this cost? His funding target is trivial by dementia research standards. He needs half a million pounds to start the trial, but would like up to three times that to do a really comprehensive study.
To put that in perspective, in the UK alone dementia care costs us £2 billion a month. For his initial trial Chris needs the amount dementia care costs us in the UK every ten minutes, every day of the year.
Details of this Appeal and the link to make donations are on the Futsci.com web site, and the Appeal is open until 21st September. After a relatively slow start, substantial donations are at last beginning to role in.
Anyone can pledge whatever they can afford - donations so far range from a few pounds to substantial anonymous pledges that are lending wings to this revolutionary approach to medical research.
Join the revolution!
So join the Revolution! Let’s take control of who is allowed to do what out of the hands of those with the vested interests, and put it back into research for us, the people, research supported by us, the people. Chris has stood up for my community in Cornwall for almost thirty years; we know we can trust him, so you can too.
Dementia affects virtually every family in the land - so now let’s make it a family affair. Preventing or reducing dementia in a family member is a labour of love and makes a world of difference, regardless of how much you earn or where you live.
This is the most promising sign yet that we may be able to make a real and lasting difference - and if we can make this work, then there’s no telling where it could take us next in playing a meaningful part in how we protect and manage our health in the future.
There’s only a short time left to get this on the road, so join us and help protect not just your own families but millions of others too, all around the world.