Mark Twain definitely was onto something when he said:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
At least, it may apply to the latest research on Alzheimer’s disease and MS.
Most of us have know that Alheimer’s disease is defined by memory loss and that it is associated with findings in the brain under the microscopic. These specific findings to the condition are ‘plaques and tangles’; Microscopic evidence of the process that is robbing the brain of memory.
Recently, the ‘plaque’ seen in Alzheimer’s disease was also seen in mice with a form of MS (Multiple Sclerosis), and this finding prompted researchers at Stanford University to see if injecting mice with the ‘plaque material’ would result in progression of their disease.
The researchers took mice who were paralyzed by MS and injected them with this material and were expecting to see a progressive decline in their nervous systems, consistent with the idea that the plaque is causing the MS. Much to their surprise, they found just the opposite. They found that the mice that were injected actually regained the ability to walk. This suggested to the researchers the possibility that plaque is actually a protective mechanism produced by the brain to thwart the progressive deterioration. Of course, if this is correct, then this is a 180 degree turn in research and may provide a ready therapeutic modality for treatment of both conditions.
Time will tell, but remembering Twain’s quote is sobering.