As we’ve discussed previously, we are seeking to detect Alzheimer’s as soon as possible- before the amyloid proteins (plaque) form in the brain (with the concomitant brain cell death). Now, instead of a spinal tap (to test the spinal fluid), there may be a blood test (easier to complete).
[Author’s Note:Â I thought this was published last week.Â I guess the holidays took more out of me than I thought…]
When I started grad school in the early 70’s, one of the hot new topics was Streptococcus mutans and its relationship to oral problems (cavities, infections, etc.). This gram positive microbe converts sugars (found in almost everything we eat) to lactic acid; it also uses sucrose to produce a biofilm that surrounds it, protecting it from outside interference (in dental parlance, this is called plaque). The combination of plaque and lactic acid formation is the driving force in dental decay.
We first proposed a method of using dialysis virtually continuously in the late 1970s. Our approach was to employ a small dialyzer and a bioreactor to keep the dialysate clean. It was based upon our development of strains of microbes that degraded urea and creatinine (among other nitrogenous compounds) rapidly. As biochemical engineering evolved, we began examining the use of stem cells. We understood the technology could replace dialysis within a decade or so; we did not understand that politics would preclude that development for some 30 years or more.)