Trial went from 2005 to 2010, results are just now out. Medical research is so slow, but there is some seriously cool stuff over the horizon nonetheless.
Him and who else? Whose grandmother? It takes time to make sure these things are safe and statistically likely to work, but it can't possibly come too soon.
I hope for society's sake that it pans out - think of a society unburdened with much of the intellectual decline in old age.
Millions of people's minds being crippled and their families forced to watch helplessly. There really needs to be a fast track for these sorts of diseases.
There should be an 'early stages' warning for the 'omg this medicine increases risk of broken nails, and I wasn't warned, now I want one million dollars'.
Fact is all drugs have side effects, all drugs have risks. And by the sheer ammount of acetaminophen on the market and its risks I assume it's not science that's in play there, but rather politics and lobbying.
It should be noted that detecting the effectiveness of either a smallpox or polio vaccine is much easier than Alzheimer's. For one thing, we aren't even sure exactly how Alzheimer's deals damage. You would -need- a relatively long term, and careful study to tease out real results.
For a more recent comparison -- cancer deaths have been on the rise while cardiovascular deaths have been in decline.
Not that things are not far better now than at any point in the past, just life expectancy is a poor proxy for ratio of 15 year olds that reach 80. And you have 16 great great grandparent's who all lived to be old enough to have children.
However. If I were the type to use strong language, I'd use it here.
If you had a family member with a devastating disease like this, right now, you might not be so glib about waiting another 10 years. For some folks, they don't have another 10 years to spare.
Honestly, I am tempted to want to push this out myself. In the end though, given the medical, legal, and social (note: anti-vaccine crowds) implications of pushing out a faulty drug, I think in the long run it's better to wait and make sure it's safe first before opening treatment to the public.
Practically speaking, these will be people who know they are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer's and get the vaccine before they show any signs.
Now, if we could actually run the calculations I mentioned above, the problem would disappear because we wouldn't simply say "approved as safe" or "rejected as unsafe". We'd just keep a running tally of the odds of safety and give the treatment to people according to the desperation of their individual case. But unfortunately, that's not the world we live in.
In medicine, safety is paramount. This is not a Node.js start-up where you can push 100 updates in a day.
After I got my B.S. in computer science three years ago I decided to start "from scratch" and applied to molecular biology and genetics. I was fascinated by research done in immunology, cancer biology and many other fields which helped prolong human life considerably during 20th century.
However after some time I realised that improving human health and prolonging life is just one side of the coin and that there is something equally important (and sadly often neglected especially in the media): we should strive very strongly on improving quality of life and not "only" it's length.
There's a very good chance that you and me will live quite a long life, according to statistics. But over the last year I experienced some things that really shook my personal and professional view on this... That's probably the same for anyone who had at least some experience with any case of mental deterioration disease, not only in case of elderly people even though they're affected most often. I've realized there is no point in living into one's eighties without some dignity or without being able to enjoy it.
Luckily for as all there's an amazing research being done in the field of neuroscience so I have my hopes up.