Alzheimers: Treatment, Genetics, Nature Part 2

The final section of my project deals with how nature relates to diseases specifically the natural way that the body connects to the outside world. Diseases are a natural part of the environment. Disease is the way nature keeps population size in check. That way no species will outgrow its allotted space in the environment. Humans have developed technologies, specifically medicines and in large part antibiotics to fight against nature. Eventually we will reach the end of our technologies and nature will out smart us. With diseases like Alzheimer’s nature has used our own bodies against us. Genetic diseases are caused by nothing more than nature selecting for a gene that will cause us harm when it is expressed. On the positive side of disease certain aspects of nature can be used to aid in the battle against disease. In a video clip from “The Alzheimer’s Project”, linked in the works cited page, Dr. Dennis Selkoe discusses medicine that targets one of the enzymes that breaks down amyloid into amyloid plaques. Around nine minutes into the video they are discussing how they are going to administer this treatment via the nasal cavity as a spray. What they say next is most interesting. Dr. Selkoe says the body is constantly taking things in through the nasal cavity and because it is used to doing so and not reacting in a negative way it should allow a medication in without rejection. Whereas when things are injected there is always a chance of the body not accepting it. By nasally inserting the treatment, the immune system in the brain is stimulated better because it uses the body’s natural immune system. Dr. Selkoe repeats this idea of natural, the natural way we are exposed to things. So why not use this natural process to allow non-natural treatments to enter the sick body. Interesting, it is kind of like nature is helping us defeat itself or at least one part of it.

     Modern medicine has allowed us to push the limits of being human to a level never thought possible even just two-hundred years ago. With advances in the way medicines are used and applied we are able to cure diseases that once ravaged through the human population. There is also an entirely new emerging field of genetics that is allowing us to cure people that once would have been sent to an institution or worse. This is an exciting time in medicine with new and wonderful discoveries occurring every day and progress taking huge strides with every new technique or medication created. As many scientists state though, when one question is answered many more questions arise. Even though Alzheimer’s may be able to be controlled with certain medications for a while something new and better has to be around the corner because if our medicine and technologies stop improving then nature will eventually come back bigger and stronger than we ever could have imagined.

 

The video of what Dr. Selkoe is working on can be found here:

http://www.alz.org/research/video/video_pages/understanding_attacking_alz.html

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