[ExI] New Hope for Alzheimer's Disease Vaccine

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 14:22:51 UTC 2008

Before we go into the usual "let's have more government to save our
children" exchange, let me repost something I wrote for Perry Metzger's

The amyloid hypothesis is baloney. It all started with Dennis Selkoe almost
20 years ago, and was at the time somewhat reasonable. But then there were
studies decisively excluding the APP gene as a cause of sporadic AD, based
on lack of linkage. This should have prompted a rethinking already but
somehow the idea became a reigning paradigm.... Then there was the
observation that soluble amyloid levels in AD are almost the same as in
normal aging, and both are between 10 and 1000 times less than the amounts
of amyloid needed to cause cellular dysfunction in vitro. Then there was the
observation that lots of apparently healthy elderly have very high amyloid
plaque loads, while some apparent AD cases have little. Then the finding
that media conditioned by AD cells can cause cell death, even *after* being
depleted of amyloid by immunoprecipitation. Of course by now the hypothesis
should have long been discarded but the amyloid people kept soldiering on.
Then the finding that mitochondrial dysfunction and tau abnormalities
precede formation of amyloid plaques in patients. Then the lack of
appreciable clinical improvement in patients after removal of amyloid by a
vaccine (in fact, a bunch of patients came down with an encephalitis). Isn't
this really, I mean, really enough to decisively reject the amyloid
hypothesis? Apparently not, it's still the reigning paradigm, with only a
few people like Russell Swerdlow, George Perry, Hemachandra Reddy, Mark
Smith, Davis Parker, and yours truly challenging it in print (not that I am
in the same league as these illustrious researchers).

 Of course, the popular press goes to Selkoe or Goodman or Hardy to get
their news, so reading non-specialist articles you will find that all is
fine in AD-land and a cure might be just around the corner....but my advice
is to stay away from Elan stock.


Now, I am of course not in the least surprised that the news on the vaccine
front are bad. What really gets me is the persistence of these people. Dr
Head is quoted as saying ""Vaccines such as this one are a good first step
for effective Alzheimer's treatment, but complimentary treatments must be
developed to address the complexity of the disease." Jesus H Christ! This
thing *does not work*! What kind of a "good first step" is it if it does not
work, and "complementary treatments" (read: addressing the real problem
instead of bungling around with amyloid) are needed?!

What we need is not an FDA streamlined protocol to have more humans
vaccinated (and get encephalitis) but a wholesale, decisive rejection of the
amyloid hypothesis, and concentrating on the energy metabolism derangements
in AD.


Disclosure: I have been actively involved in mitochondrial research,
including research on PD, and AD, for a few years now. I personally know
many of the mitochondriacs working on AD, and I would stand to gain in many
ways from the downfall of the amyloid people and the ascendancy of my faith.
The only path to truth is to read and understand a lot of primary research
articles, ask a lot of questions, and never pay much attention to press
releases and email posts.
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