Alzheimer's vaccine proves successful in mice : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Thursday September 28 1:31 PM ET

Alzheimer's vaccine proves successful in mice


By Keith Mulvihill

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Alzheimer's disease is a devastating disorder with progressive dementia as its hallmark. The disease is characterized by protein plaques and nerve tangles that gradually distort the architecture of the brain. A naturally-occurring protein called amyloid has been implicated as a key player in the destructive process.

Now, scientists report that a vaccine, administered nasally, may prove successful in reducing the accumulation of the debilitating amyloid plaques.

The treatment, which has previously been tested in an injection form, ``creates a new avenue for treating the disease because it takes an immunological approach,'' lead author Dr. Howard L. Weiner of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, told Reuters Health.

His team's report is published in the October issue of the Annals of Neurology.

In this study using mice, the vaccine was shown to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that bind to the amyloid fragments and ``clear them out of the brain,'' according to Weiner.

The investigators have so far tested the vaccine in a special strain of mice that have been bred to develop plaques similar to those seen in human Alzheimer's disease. The vaccine was able to reduce the build-up of plaques by as much as 60%, according to the researchers.

``We expect to have our nasal vaccine in clinical trials sometime next year,'' Weiner said.

For now, scientists are still puzzled as to why the amyloid protein accumulation occurs.

``We don't know exactly where the amyloid proteins come from, but what we do know is that the reason that they cause problems is that they get spliced in the wrong place in people with Alzheimer's disease,'' Weiner explained. ``This causes fragments to be formed and they accumulate in the brain.''

One in 10 people over age 65 and nearly half of those over 85 have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, Illinois. Today, 4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. Unless a cure or prevention is found, that number will jump to 14 million by the year 2050.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 22 million individuals will develop Alzheimer's disease by the year 2025.

SOURCE: Annals of Neurology 2000;48.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), September 28, 2000


I question whether ANY substance tested on mice will be just a year away for clinical trials in humans, but in the meantime we have elephants who can remember and mice that can remember and humans who can't remember where they put their car keys.

-- Anita (, September 28, 2000.

A mouse with Alzheimers? LOL. What does a mouse know to forget?

-- Lars (, September 28, 2000.

Lars - LOL !!

What does a mouse know to forget?

If this research includes behavioral testing I think Sam (my cat) could be recruited for duty.

-- Debbie (, September 28, 2000.

Apparently, Lars, you've never had a mouse.

We once had THREE mice...two female mice, and one male mouse. The math equates to having three children, two female and one male.

The female mice tamed quickly, and my daughters were able to remove them daily from the habitat in which the three resided, let them crawl around, up their arms, etc. The male mouse was either more difficult to tame or simply didn't like my son. One day my son tried again to perform the daily "taming" routine, the mouse bit him, my son shrieked, threw off the mouse, and the mouse squeezed under our apartment door to find adventure.

Well, he FOUND adventure. The neighbor across the hall was tired of having our mouse in her kitchen, and every night the mouse returned to OUR apartment [following a specific path], and spent the night in a kitchen cabinet. I purchased one of those "humane" mouse traps to try and capture him. He ate whatever was within and escaped.

Finally, after weeks of hearing my neighbor complain, we learned that the mouse had been in the closets, chewing things like the hair of a Raggedy Ann doll, wires, etc. He was becoming a fire hazard, IMO, and I didn't want to be responsible for burning down my building because he'd chewed through an electrical wire.

As I said, his path was well established. He snuck through the front door, followed the wall through the frontroom, turned the corner and followed the wall behind the refrigerator in the kitchen to get to his little nest in the cabinet. I purchased some of that sticky stuff, designed to catch rodents of his genre. I sat it on the floor around the corner into the kitchen [but well before the refrigerator.] That night, we were laying in bed when we heard the most pitiful whimpers. The poor guy had not simply stuck to the sticky stuff, but he'd fallen over and his fur was stuck as well. He couldn't move, and I would have torn his body apart if I tried to disengage him, but I couldn't stand listening to his pitiful cries. I smacked him with a gym shoe. It was the first creature [outside mosquito or fireant] I'd ever killed.

My daughter came into my room a while later and asked, "Mom...are you crying?" I guess I was.

-- Anita (, September 28, 2000.

That stinks Nita, sorry. I'm a sucker for animals too.

-- Uncle Deedah (, September 28, 2000.

Years ago a wild mouse was trying to stuff a pecan into a crack in our kitchen cabinet at the floor level. It kept bouncing and rolling all over the floor. I went in there and sat on the floor. Eventually the pecan rolled over to me, and I held it out to the mouse. She thought about it for a little while and then took it. Every time the pecan rolled to me, I handed it back. Finally I tried to stuff the pecan into the crack. She was right there with me trying to help stuff it in there. We decided to break the pecan shell so she could stuff the pieces into the crack. That worked.

I told my mom this wonderful story of inter-species communication. She set a trap and killed my mouse the next night.

Now I know how she felt about it. We've been invaded by chilly mice looking for a nice cozy place to chew into splinters. I've had a mouse chew holes through drawer fronts and poop in the cabinets. Pairs of mice come out to watch me bathe. They follow me into the kitchen for morning coffee.

I have a trap and I know how to use it.

-- helen (b@r.f), September 28, 2000.


"They follow me into the kitchen for morning coffee."

I never knew mice drank coffee. Have you told them it could stunt their growth? [or is that study now obsolete?]

-- Anita (, September 28, 2000.

A wrenching story, Anita. Dumb joke on my part. My brother and I as kids kept mice as pets, several generations of them. They are smart. All had distinct personalities we got to know when caring for them every day. They had a certain room where they could run free. Oh we did get attached to them. These days I forget about that as our cat is catching all these rats and mice and it's "nature's way." Shrug. And my SO is glad to have her keep them away from his fruit trees. Double shrug.

Much more disturbing and something to do with my laughing was the grotesque image of a penned-up mouse with human-induced Alzheimer's disease. I would rather not even go there. (Oops, I just did.)

-- Debbie (, September 29, 2000.


Your mouse story was one of the most suspenseful and entertaining short tales I've read on the board in several months. What a narrative!

If others of you enjoy rodent tales, you might want to check out "The Rats on the Waterfront" by Joseph Mitchell, an essay published in The Bottom of the Harbor (Modern Library, 1994).

-- Celia Thaxter (, September 29, 2000.

Anita -- I slop it on the floor every morning. That first cup is sooooo important to get me going.

-- helen (b@q.e), September 29, 2000.


My son had a pet rat { IMHO - the best hand pets for kids. They're clean, intelligent, and have good dispositions }.

Her favorite thing in the world was coffee. In the morning, she would try to leap into your cup if you weren't thoughtful enough to set out a little dish. She would never lap it up from her butter dish. Instead, she'd use her front paws to scoop coffee up and hold cupped to her face until she was ready for more. This was a very intense process, and it was delightful to watch her hover over her coffee, then sit back onto her haunches to savor it.

She also had an established route back to her cage, and if he became distracted enough, she would go take herself 'home'.

Pet rats only live for around a thousand days. That's the hard part. They each have had their own individual, endearing quirks.

Now, varmints who move into the house walls, etc. That's a whole 'nother story. {Sorry cin!}.

-- flora (***@__._), September 29, 2000.

When I was employed as an engineer, we had an expression to describe insignificant phenomena---"mouse farts". The notion of course was that mouse farts are innocuous, as farts go. (Maybe this is a faulty premise and if anyone knows otherwise I stand ready to be corrected).

In the mid 70s, when improving automotive gas mileage was the highest priority, we were charged with investigating the application of electronics to the control of engine functions in the hope that they could be made more efficient than the prevailing mechanical, electo-mechanical, pneumatic and hydrulic technologies. We were skeptical that electronics could improve the existing methods which had been honed to a fine edge over decades. (remember how complicated carburetors were?). Indeed we referred to the possible benefites of electronic engine control as "mouse farts".

Then microprocessors appeared and we were off to the races. Micoprocessor electonics gradually took over all major automotive functions, engine and otherwise. One result is fuel-injected cars that never knock and provide smoother, more efficient IC enginees.

Mouse farts became elephant farts.

-- Lars (, September 30, 2000.


Let's bring the discussion full circle. Last winter I left my car in the barn for a few months. Mice chewed through all of the wires going to the electronic control module. One mouse [I presume the one with Alzheimer's disease ] was fried.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, September 30, 2000.


I hear that electrical insulation is very indigestible. The mice probably farted up a storm.

-- Lars (, September 30, 2000.

What is the difference between a tavern and an elephant's fart?

A tavern is a barroom.

An elephant's fart is a BAROOOM!

-- (, September 30, 2000.

How come in some of the above scenarios weren't there lots of baby mice before long?

-- Mickey Rat (Rat@comix.for.all), October 01, 2000.

Anita, I too was a white pet mouse lover as kid. Had several, up to my late teens. They're easy to keep, and return a lot of affection and fun for their small upkeep. I'm an animal lover all around, but now in my old age I don't put up with the "varmint" kind that destroy and bring diseases. So when I moved to this house, there were gray mice in the garage and the basement. Because we didn't have much money to spare after making the settlement we decided to take care of the problem ourselves. Well the job fell on me, as SO turned out to be even more reluctant and squeamish to trap the mice. I bought the same kind of mouse trap you've described, the sticky and supposedly more human ones. 4 of them. I put 2 in the garage, 2 in the basement.

The next morning the kids and I come down in the kitchen and we hear these loud squeals from the basement door. My heart fell to the floor when I saw the mice in the traps, their fur trapped as well, unable to move, but very much alive and squealing they're tiny lungs out. I had never heard mice squeal like that or that loud before. I could not remove them from the traps either, and the more they moved the more hopelessly stuck they got. The full realization of the horror of it hit me and I panicked. Now what was I supposed to do with them? The traps' instruction didn't say. My young boys, 5 and 8 at the time, were frantic, wanting to bring them to the vet. I had to explain to them that the vet would not take them because they were not considered pets, but vermin (I had no idea if the vet would or could do anything for them, but I wasn't going to spend the money to find out.) I go in the garage, the kids following me, and sure enough there were 2 more mice stuck in the traps there as well. Now I had 4 of them furry creatures squealing for their lives , and 2 young boys with teary eyes on the verge to squeal as well.

I decided I could not let them squeal themselves to death, it could have taken days. I could not bring myself to hit them, especially since the boys would not leave me and the mice, I could not show such brutality to animals in front of them. So I took a bucket and filled it with water, and explained to the boys that the best thing to do for them in this situation was to drown them. They would take a gulp of water in their lungs and fall asleep. So that's what I did. The boys and I watched tiny bubbles come up from the bottom of the bucket, my throat tight and my heart pounding, and the boys with tears in their eyes. It took only about 2 minutes for the bubbles to disappear and their bodies to stop twitching, but it felt much longer.

And then ofcourse, the boys wanted to bury them in the yard. Since I could not remove the mice from the traps without wrenching their limps out and skinning them, we buried them still in their traps, by the fence at the far end of the backyard. The traps must still be there to this day. The boys still talk about that day and those horrible traps.

The worse part of it for me was that ended up calling the exterminator anyway, as there were more mice left behind. Ive left varmint control to professionals ever since.

-- (, October 01, 2000.


I don't want you to confuse the "sticky stuff" with the humane mousetraps. The mouse traps are like little plastic boxes with a spring lid in which the mouse gets trapped, but not killed. Of course if you trim the area beyond where a mouse became trapped in the sticky stuff, the humane mouse trap serves as a nice coffin. Yeah...we buried this guy that mouse trap I mentioned. Who woulda thunk that the sticky stuff would cause them to fall over and we couldn't just cut around their little feet and put them back in the habitat, or deliver the wild ones 30 miles from OUR house?

-- Anita (, October 01, 2000.

You even have to be diligent with the 'humane traps'. The voice of experience says they'll apparently sweat themselves to death if you're not. *sigh*


To A Mouse

On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, November, 1785

~ by Robert Burns

Wee , sleekit , cow'rin , tim'rous beastie ,

O, what a panic's in thy breastie !

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle !

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,

Wi' murd'ring pattle !


I'm truly sorry man's dominion,

Has broken nature's social union,

An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An' fellow-mortal!


I doubt na , whiles , but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie , thou maun live!

A daimen icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request;

I'll get a blessin wi' the lave ,

An' never miss't!


Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!

An' naething , now, to big a new ane , O' foggage green!

An' bleak December's winds ensuin, Baith snell an' keen!


Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,

An' weary winter comin fast,

An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell --

Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out thro' thy cell.


That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble ,

Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!

Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,

But house or hald ,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble ,

An' cranreuch cauld !


But , Mousie, thou art no thy lane ,

In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men

Gang aft agley ,

An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promis'd joy!


Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me

The present only toucheth thee:

But , Och! I backward cast my e'e .

On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I canna see,

I guess an' fear!


{Burns complete works are here {& they even have a glossary!}}:

-- flora (***@__._), October 01, 2000.


Is this the same Robert Burns as RRRRRobuhrrt Buhrrrrrns?

-- Lars (, October 01, 2000.

Aye, laddie!

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

From mice to Alzheimers to Robert Burns. Ain't this a wonderful place? I love the "Mice and Men" line. Here is another bit o Burns that I think is tops--

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us

To see oursels as ithers see us"

-----From "Ode to a Louise", Robt Burns, 1798

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"

-- Lars (, October 02, 2000.

Thanks for sharing that piece, Lars.

I've long harbored a soft spot for Buhrrrrrns in my heart. Was much delighted to become acquainted with one of his young descendants and namesake a couple of years ago. In true modern form, he is part Lakota, sports long hair, black garments, & travels in a car that proclaims "Nietzche is Peachy" from a bumpersticker.

-- flora (***@__._), October 02, 2000.

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