During the Blitz of World War II, Londoners faced the terror of nightly bombardment that left 43,000 dead and millions homeless. The Nazis expected to destroy morale and force surrender, yet the British chose to fight on and among the people there was a surprising absence of crime and suicide. Not only did the expected panic and despair never materialise, but the people appeared to rise to a new level of unity and resilience.
Alzheimer’s Disease has been blamed on the build-up of two particularly nasty proteins in the brain: beta-amyloid and tau. Amyloid accumulates in plaques outside neurons, while tau twists into tangles inside. These are the characteristic plaques and tangles seen in the post-mortem Alzheimer’s brain.
One in three people living past 85 get Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure, and patients are faced with an inexorable decline that nothing can stop but death. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or TMS, is one of very few treatments that might alter this grim trajectory.
For the first time in 20 years, the United States FDA has approved a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, news that brought both celebration and dismay. While patients and families suddenly glimpse hope, many researchers dismiss that hope as illusory.
Ketamine was once used mainly as an anaesthetic on battlefields and for horses. Later it became a party drug, the notorious ‘Special K’. Now it’s being used for depression and even to prevent suicide. Drugs have taken on new roles before, but ketamine’s career change is one of the most surprising.