Alzheimers, or did I already say that?

More studies are suggesting  that Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by a persistent  viral infection of the brain.  Autopsy studies show that Alzheimer’s victims have higher viral load. A couple of other recent studies in Taiwan suggest that antiviral drugs may  significantly reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s.

And of course we have the long record of complete failure of therapies based on the amyloid hypothesis.

Many of these recent articles mention that most people in the Alzheimer’s research community are violently opposed to any pathogen hypothesis, or probably anything other than the amyloid hypothesis.  I see phrases like “venomous hostility” used.

Truly I don’t get why.  I see no political angle of any kind, no emotional hook  – the only thing I can imagine is that personal and community investment in a given approach makes it very hard, almost impossible to admit a mistake.  Is that enough, all by itself?

 

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114 Responses to Alzheimers, or did I already say that?

  1. Hesse Kassel says:

    Are the two even mutually exclusive?

  2. Jan Banan says:

    If Alzheimers is type of diabetes (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19885299), then the increased viral load could be correlated with lower diabetic immune function and perhaps increased blood glucose.

  3. Aidan Kehoe says:

    Truly I don’t get why. I see no political angle of any kind, no emotional hook – the only thing I can imagine is that personal and community investment in a given approach makes it very hard, almost impossible to admit a mistake. Is that enough, all by itself?

    Yes, I think so. The current length of drug development cycles comes into it too, in that people don’t want to have wasted half their career on a blind alley.

  4. Cloveoil says:

    Amyloid hypothesis caught on after a knowledge of vCJD caught on. Of course there always was a fringe-ish theory a mycobacterium causes vCJD and the amyloid plaques. Anyway there was a genetic component – Queeniborough.

  5. teageegeepea says:

    How soon do you expect the medical consensus to shift in favor of “New Germ Theory” next? The last I recall was pappilloma being deemed the cause of cervical cancer, but I don’t follow medical news closely.

    Do you listen to the podcast Razib does with Spencer Wells? Their most recent episode was on ancient warfare, with Spencer giving some support to the neo-Rousseauian view of anthropologists like Brian Ferguson. I wondered what you’d think of it.

  6. AppSocRes says:

    This reminds me of the decades of human misery that resulted towards the end of the last century because gastroenterologists refused to accept the eventually overwhelming evidence that the primary cause of stomach ulcers was a particular bacterium.

  7. Frau Katze says:

    A virus could be a possible cause, although I’m strictly an amateur on the subject.

    Why would the disease mostly occur in people over 65? Apparently early-onset Alzeimers (rare) can be genetic.

    That wouldn’t write off the possibility of an infectious agent. I’m reading a book on allergies and autoimmune diseases (not connected to Alzheimer’s) but indicating how complex and not completely understood the immune system is.

    H. Pylori can cause stomach cancer and ulcers, but in most people (worldwide) it doesn’t. In fact, if your immune system doesn’t mount an inflammatory attack on it, it can have positive effects. You’re more likely to deal with TB by forcing into a latent condition if you also have H. Pylori, for example.

    If you are afflicted with both H. Pylori and a type of intestinal worm, the presence of the worm seems to stop the immune system from mounting a dangerous inflammatory attack on H. Pylori and causing cancer.

    • Peter Lund says:

      Why would the disease mostly occur in people over 65?

      Isn’t shingles a good parallel?

      • Frau Katze says:

        It sounds like a good parallel.

        A lot of work must have been done on the brains of those who have died with Alzheimer’s. But unlike shingles, nothing has been detected? No one has looked?

        • Peter Lund says:

          There are enough virus particles that they can be detected (and can infect others with chickenpox) during an outbreak of shingles. Plus, it’s no problem to take a tissue sample from a patient.

          But the rest of the time? It’s probably pretty hard to detect the virus when it lies dormant. I’m not sure we could even do that until 10-20 years ago.

          What if the Alzheimer-causing infection is a low level infection? I think it would be pretty hard to detect. Furthermore, we know a lot about the normal immune system. We know very little about microglia or about how astrocytes and neurons handle infections.

          • Frau Katze says:

            I’m strictly an amateur. Keep that in mind. I was talking about people who have died with full-blown Alzheimer’s. How did they find all this stuff that characterizes the brains of full-blown Alzheimer’s?

            I grant you a virus would be pretty hard to find, especially now that it’s dead too.

            In that case we may never know.

          • Frau Katze says:

            Another difficulty: no animal model. I swear that my elderly cat’s personality changed, but that’s something beyond measuring.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “Why would the disease mostly occur in people over 65?”

      weaker immune system?

      (although if that was the case might you expect to see it in younger people with other immune suppressing diseases?)

      • Warren Notes says:

        The preclinical stage (they have it but don’t realize it) can last for years, so it’s probably “occurring” before 65. Additionally, some cases live 20 more years after diagnosis – there’s great variance in progression of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps age of onset and speed of progression have to do with the copy-years viremia of whatever virus is responsible. I also suspect that having multiple STDs with significant copy-years viremia may overwhelm immunosupression. If the reserve theory of brain function explains why individuals with high IQ are less likely to get Alzheimers, their copy-years viremia and the extent of their brain network interconnections may interact to influence onset and maturation of the disease.

  8. Frau Katze says:

    As for why a virus isn’t even considered a possibility, it stands to reason that if you’ve spent your career on other possibilities that you’re not going to change your mind easily.

    Note that this doesn’t mean that work was useless. But human nature gives the rewards to those finding a cause, not finding that a proposed cause looks unpromising.

    • albatross says:

      Yeah, the sunk cost fallacy is a bug in the human brain. Being a smart person working in science doesn’t mean you don’t have that bug–it affects everyone, and it takes effort to overcome.

  9. JayMan says:

    the only thing I can imagine is that personal and community investment in a given approach makes it very hard, almost impossible to admit a mistake. Is that enough, all by itself?

    Yup.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      This is one of the reasons why most bio-medical research is garbage and why I do not trust it. This is one of the phenomenon that is amplified by bureaucracy and particularly government funded bureaucracy and why I do not believe in government funding of science and technology in general. It simply does not work.

  10. West Anon says:

    > I see no political angle of any kind, no emotional hook

    Both, if the culprit really is Herpes, because people first think STD, then sexual morality, then Christians and Daddy, and then they shut down 😉

  11. dearieme says:

    And yet it seems to me that the Old-timers’ experts are readier to engage with criticism of the the amyloid hypothesis than the cardiologists are to admit any possibility of error in their absurd cholesterol hypothesis.

    • dearieme says:

      By the way, the curves for the rise and fall of heart attack rates look much like those for infectious diseases, or so a few writers reckon.

      • reziac says:

        Follow — gleaned from assorted studies:

        80% of people over age 50 have some degree of hypothyroidism due to reduced conversion of T4 to T3. (At one aged-care facility, 26% showed goiter at autopsy, despite a lack of diagnosis.) Most of what we think of as “symptoms of aging” (including dementia) result from this; since thyroid affects everything, exactly how you’re affected no doubt depends on the rest of your genetics.

        At autopsy, 50% of fatal cardiac incidents show “low T3 syndrome” aka “flabby heart syndrome”. (One cardiologist remarked that despite evidence from numerous autopsies, it will never be studied, since you can’t ethically induce the condition.) Also, when thyroid is low, blood cholesterol goes up.

        I could go on, and on, and on, but you get the idea. For any chronic condition, first normalise thyroid; chances are the chronic condition will then vanish on its own.

      • Frau Katze says:

        I’ve noticed that too. Very strange. Why have rates dropped so much?

  12. Greying Wanderer says:

    potential reasons
    – politics of one kind or another
    – ego/pride
    – money (currently profitable pills)
    – guilt (if lots of people died as a result)

    i’d say ego/pride is enough on its own for significant initial resistance but you maybe need two, three or even all four reasons at once for people to fight the truth long-term.

  13. Patrick L. Boyle says:

    I suppose you are contrasting the politics of Alzheimer’s with those of homosexuality. Both diseases are likely to be caused by a pathogen but the political forces lined up against the consideration of homosexuality as an infection are huge. By contrast Alzheimer’s elicits much less emotion.

    Or am I reading too much into your statement?

    • gcochran9 says:

      There are lots of topics for which the real explanation is politically or emotionally upsetting and thus is commonly rejected. Something as simple as identical twins being real similar freaks people out. I wouldn’t have thought that Alzheimer’s disease would be one. But if you’ve spend your career going down a blind alley, I guess that gets emotional. Also, certain explanations might be threatening in another: prevention or cure or even treatment with something unpatentable means no big money. Marshall didn’t thrill drug companies when he showed he could cure stomach ulcers with cheap existing antibiotics.

      • Tl Howard says:

        Speaking of homosex, have you read this? “High Rates of Same-Sex Attraction/Gender Nonconformity in the Offspring of Mothers with Thyroid Dysfunction During Pregnancy: Proposal of Prenatal Thyroid” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4620281/

        Related link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926038/

        Sanders in his last study wrote, “On chromosome 14, TSHR genetic variants in intron 1 could conceivably help explain past findings relating familial atypical thyroid function and male homosexuality. Furthermore, skewed X chromosome inactivation has been found in the thyroid condition, Graves’ disease, as well as in mothers of homosexual men.”
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926038/

        Think there’s any possibility of a there there?

        • Maciano says:

          For this “80% of the affected children of pregnant women with thyroid condition”, does it matter if she was treated or not?

      • Thiago Ribeiro says:

        “There are lots of topics for which the real explanation is politically or emotionally upsetting and thus is commonly rejected”

        Do you recall any of those topics you haven’t mentioned before here (even if the explanation is one you have mentioned before about another topic e.g. differences between genders, races, etc.)

    • They seem to have no problem admitting that AIDS and rectal cancers are caused by pathogens.

  14. You might ask the guys at Retraction Watch if the possibility of having made a mistake is enough. They have a list. https://retractionwatch.com/

  15. J says:

    “All the drugs to treat Alzheimer, the commonest form of dementia, are useless. As the population ages and grows evermore crazier, the cost of Alzheimer’s care in the U.S. will reach $1 trillion annually by 2050. Biogen with Eisai (a Japanese firm) have an anti-amyloid something that seems to work. ”

    Being potential profits so astronomical, I humbly observe that “personal and community investment in a given approach” is irrelevant. Paris is worth a mass, a cue to Alzheimer is worth an admission of mistake.

  16. anonymouscoward says:

    a man goes to the doctor and the doctor says “i have bad news for you. you have alzheimer’s and you have cancer.”
    the man wipes his forehead and goes “whew!” and says “that’s a relief! i thought for a minute there you were gonna tell me i had cancer!”

  17. gothamette says:

    ” Is that enough, all by itself?”
    Money.

  18. savantissimo says:

    “Different Brain Regions are Infected with Fungi in Alzheimer’s Disease” Diana Pisa, Ruth Alonso, Alberto Rábano, Izaskun Rodal & Luis Carrasco / Scientific Reports volume 5, Article number: 15015 (2015)
    Abstract:
    The possibility that Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has a microbial aetiology has been proposed by several researchers. Here, we provide evidence that tissue from the central nervous system (CNS) of AD patients contain fungal cells and hyphae. Fungal material can be detected both intra- and extracellularly using specific antibodies against several fungi. Different brain regions including external frontal cortex, cerebellar hemisphere, entorhinal cortex / hippocampus and choroid plexus contain fungal material, which is absent in brain tissue from control individuals. Analysis of brain sections from ten additional AD patients reveals that all are infected with fungi. Fungal infection is also observed in blood vessels, which may explain the vascular pathology frequently detected in AD patients. Sequencing of fungal DNA extracted from frozen CNS samples identifies several fungal species. Collectively, our findings provide compelling evidence for the existence of fungal infection in the CNS from AD patients, but not in control individuals.
    *
    P.D. Mangan at Rogue Heath and Fitness in his post:“Does Fungal Infection Cause Alzheimer’s?” has a couple of links to published cased of dementia being cured with antifungal treatments. He also links evidence that fungi need sugar and iron, and these are both higher in Alzheimer’s brains than normal. Also amyloid is anti-microbial, so the plaques are likely due to the response to the infection.

    There is a great risk / reward ratio to doing trials of antifungal treatment on patients with dementia. Some possibilities for CNS effective antifungal drugs in review articles are listed at the bottom of the comments on Mangan’s article.

    • J says:

      Fungal infections of the brain are treatable. The treatment requires months and very expensive drugs. Old age diseases were not so important in the past and that is the reason that Alzheimer was neglected. But now almost everybody will get it sooner or later. A Nobel Prize – if not billions – is waiting someone out there.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        “very expensive drugs”

        if fungal is there any research on alzheimers among people who eat truckloads of garlic?

      • savantissimo says:

        Experience with treating CNS fungal infections is almost all with AIDS patients, should be easier to treat when the patient has an immune system. Also the fungus being there in the first place indicates the blood-brain barrier is leaky (or at least was) so therapeutic concentrations may not be as hard to achieve as one might think.

        From the next to last comment on the Mangan post linked above –
        Some of the drugs are expensive and require doctor administration (IV Flucytosine $2000/day in US, $22 in UK), but Voriconazole is effective against the two most common infections candida and aspergillus for ~$4/pill – not sure the frequency and length of treatment but a couple thousand dollars for a course seems generous, which is cheap compared to almost anything else a doctor might do for/to you in the US. These drugs are already approved. There is nothing stopping doctors from trying it out.

        Most antifungals are toxic and the rest are VERY toxic. Still not in the same league as cancer chemo, though.

  19. Randall Parker says:

    Would immune system rejuvenation reduce the incidence of Alzheimers Disease? Does it happen to older people because their immune systems become too impaired to hold old viral infections in check? Consider that old age is a risk factor for shingles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shingles

    How hard would immune system rejuvenation be to do?

    Also, would vaccines help? More particularly: would any currently available vaccines help? If so, which ones?

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      Are vaccines routinely given to immunocompromised patients?

    • albatross says:

      [Disclaimer: This is from a paper I read many years ago; I’m not an expert on immunology, just an interested amateur.]

      I think that as you age, you produce fewer and fewer new naive T-cells in your thymus, and more and more by reproduction of circulating naive T-cells. This eventually starts affecting your ability to acquire new immunities, since that requires finding a matching naive T-cell that can be induced to proliferate and turn into some kind of effector cell. I don’t know why that happens, though. (I think the level of T and B cells falls and NK cells become a bit more common, too.)

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        “I think that as you age, you produce fewer and fewer new naive T-cells in your thymus”

        might fasting help?

  20. dearieme says:

    “How hard would immune system rejuvenation be to do?” Is that what the ‘monkey glands ‘ episode was about? Or was it an early search for the effects of Viagra?

  21. Anthony says:

    I see no political angle of any kind, no emotional hook – the only thing I can imagine is that personal and community investment in a given approach makes it very hard, almost impossible to admit a mistake. Is that enough, all by itself?

    This is the sort of thing that sociology of science should study. Does it, or are we still dealing in quotations from Thomas Kuhn?

  22. megabar says:

    Is that enough, all by itself?

    As others have said, it appears so.

    For whatever reason, humans appear to be terribly reluctant to change their opinions in meaningful ways. Whether this is because they don’t want to admit being wrong, or just because their mind, once structured in a certain way, simply can’t see the logic of another approach, I don’t know.

    I think there are advantages to this stubbornness for an individual — without it, I suspect many endeavors would get hopelessly bogged down in expensive course corrections.

    But while this is probably good (in moderation) for early-stage entities, it is harmful in large, mature entities, where stubbornness can become excessive. Academics, of course, fits this description. I believe this individual tendency to dismiss alternative thought, along with the positive feedback loops that exist in academics that reinforce group think, combine to drastically reduce academic output.

    • JamesDW says:

      It’s very difficult to think of major scientists who were willing and able to move beyond a big, career-making theory and come up with another one that leaves the original irrelevant.

      Chomsky is the major exception I know of. He’d drop revolutionary work every decade or so–possible to do when the field you created is therefore young and you’re still the genius in the room whenever you look around. Professors from Harvard, etc. would attend his classes because you had to to keep up in the field.

      Of course, back to the topic at hand–fragile egos at the elite heights of academia (Cambridge, Mass is an especially weird place)–Chomskys brilliance was so overwhelming it was often described as depressing and oppressive to those forced to deal with it.

      “”Most of us guys [at MIT] who in any other environment would be considered absolutely brilliant are put to shame by Noam.” –unnamed colleague

      Everett occupied an office next to Chomsky’s; he found the famed professor brilliant but withering. “Whenever you try out a theory on someone, there’s always some question that you hope they won’t ask,” Everett said. “That was always the first thing Chomsky would ask.”

      “Prof Noam Chomsky is to be faulted why we don’t have good machine translation programs. He is so brilliant and his theory of generational grammar is so good, that for 40 years it has been used by everyone in the field, shifting the focus from semantics to syntax.” (Marvin Minsky)

      I’ve heard a computer scientist not-really-joke that when he was a grad student you couldn’t even go to a dinner party with someone from linguistics because the department alphas were so obsessed with “beating” Chomsky at language.

      • gcochran9 says:

        I’m not at all sure that Chomsky was ever right about anything.

        As for guys that repeatedly hit it out of the park: well, Newton, Maxwell, and Einstein did. Alvarez go a Nobel for particle detectors and later (with his son) came up with the impact hypothesis.

        Euler. Gauss. Laplace Thomas Young: wave theory of light & interference, and progress on the Rosetta stone. Gibbs. Chandrasekhar

        Fermat. My kind of lawyer!

        Von Neumann. Gödel.

        • Ursiform says:

          Hooke.

        • Jim says:

          But JamesDW is talking about scientists who did work that rendered earlier work of their own irrelevant which doesn’t fit any of the people you describe. He is suggesting that it might be psychological hard to decide that one’s earlier accomplishment is not really right and can be replaced by something better.

          The mathematicians who repeatedly did brilliant work over a long career were not refuting earlier work. I don’t know much about Chomsky. Did he come to reject some of his earlier work and replace it with something contrary to it?

          • Jim says:

            I guess one example might be Poincare who in an award winning paper “proved” that all homology 3-spheres are homeomorphic to the 3-sphere. A short time later he discovered a counterexample to his own “theorem” the famous Poincare duodecahedral space.

        • Cloveoil says:

          Chomsky was influential in rejecting the radical behaviorism (blank slate) which treated language as learned behavior.

          • Jim says:

            Yes, but this may not have consisted of changing his mind if he never had any belief in radical behaviorism or had never strongly expressed any such belief. There may not be many examples of scientists who decisively reversed a previous strongly held opinion. One might be Poisson who was at one time a vehement opponent of the wave theory of light and then “saw the light” and converted.

  23. Norman Yarvin says:

    I think part of it is that if you’re studying the human part of the mechanism of Alzheimer’s disease, you’re studying something that’s guaranteed to be relevant (even if it isn’t the critical part), whereas if you’re studying some pathogen’s role, you’re likely to strike out: even granted that a pathogen is responsible, it could easily turn out to be a different one than the one you picked to spend years of your life studying.

    This still leaves an opening for someone to do some sort of massive gene sequencing operation that aims at finding out ALL the pathogens in Alzheimers brains — and not just presence/absence, but the load of each — and doing so for enough patients that the commonalities become clear. They’ve had a whack at this sort of thing for gut microbes; now if they’d change their focus from shit to brains…

  24. Cloveoil says:

    Mmm…
    https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/lost-and-found/

    Was opposition to germ theory misplaced skepticism against superstitions such as toothworms and fury worms, which in turn related to ideas about spontaneous generation? Varro might’ve meant something like that then reasoned the ‘worms’ have to be microscopic. For what its worth the Japanese used to believe ‘mushi’ (invisible insects) caused diseases and that these minute creatures were ironically oni (giants).

  25. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I can think of another reason why the conventional research community hates any viral theory of Alzheimer’s. The medical research community likes to believe that infectious disease has been comprehensively conquered since, oh, about 1968. This is touted as the major triumph of conventional medicine – vaccines and anti-biotics, Everything from here on out is “developmental” stuff, implying that it is all “genetic”. Thus, any suggestion that “developmental” conditions are actually caused by infectious agents are met with “venonmous hostilty”.

    The real story is that it is not so much the infectious agents that are the problem (even though they are) but that the immune system declines over time, a process known as “aging”. So, the real problem to tackle is how to rejuvenate/regenerate the immune system. One is to regenerate the thymus gland, which has already been done. Another is to regenerate the lymphatic system, which has yet to be done. Not only would this eliminate Alzheimer’s but likely cancer as well.

  26. dearieme says:

    An interesting explanation of leukaemia rates in Cumbria (and MSE rates in the Faroe Islands, and other patterns of disease “hot spots” in the US and elsewhere) is known as Kinlen’s hypothesis. Kinlen reckoned that when large numbers of urban people move into rural communities they bring with them infections that the immune systems of the yokels can’t cope with – hence the disease rates some years later. I have the general impression that opposition to his idea is rather irrational and exaggerated. I don’t really know why. (I do know why some reaction is downright hysterical – it’s because his work suggested that the leukaemia rates in Cumbria were not caused by radioactivity leaks from the nuclear power and fuel sites there.)

    • Frau Katze says:

      I didn’t know the Faroe Islands were the new hot spot for retirees, or anyone else. Photographers seem to like it, but it looks pretty bleak to me.

      What’s MSE? I looked at a list of medical abbreviations and it said “Mental Status Examinations”. A search on “MSE Faroe Islands” just bring up the Faroe Islands in general.

      It could be. Some isolated spots were affected badly by WW I influenza. But I doubt that anywhere in Europe is still really isolated anymore.

      Isn’t a virus responsible for leukaemia in cats?

  27. Martin L. says:

    Now THIS is Greg Cochran at his finest. This is why I read this blog!

    To answer your question Greg: it’s ego, money, people not wanting to admit they have thrown their lives away by chasing the wrong rabbit (the plaques and tangles being the result of, rather than the cause of, the brain damage of dementia)–albeit I would not be surprised if fingering a herpes virus as the culprit of Alzheimer’s is deemed to be socially insensitive since herpes is, rightly or wrongly, assumed to be an STD (look at how slow HPV as the cause of colorectal cancer in young adults is catching on, for reasons of political correctness).

    Note that a lingering incurable virus, that the immune system can sort of control in youth, but loses all effectiveness against in time, as the true cause of Alzheimer’s does not necessarily go against our other findings and observations of the disease:

    1: Alzheimer’s goes up with age: immunity and age have a pretty obvious inverse relationship (look at shingles, already mentioned in the comments here)
    2: Virtually all Down’s people get Alzheimer’s if they live long enough: Down’s Syndrome is known to significantly impair immune function
    3: People with less education/lower IQ/shorter height/poorer health in general are more likely to get AD and/or get it at an earlier age: all of those reflect genetic load and poorer quality genes which also impacts the immune system
    4: The AD/diabetes connection: diabetes is known to be a cause of lessened immunity, OR the virus causes both diabetes and Alzheimer’s OR increased sugar load is nourishing for herpes viruses
    5: Connection between poorer cardiovascular health and Alzheimer’s: bad arteries imply that destructive pathogens are running amok all over your body

    Greg, I want to see your present-day (2018) take on what is “really” behind cancer in more detail. I for one am not buying the “cells gone awry” theory that still predominates; I say the culprit is a semi-biological infectious organism like a prion.

    • Erik Sieven says:

      “Greg, I want to see your present-day (2018) take on what is “really” behind cancer in more detail. I for one am not buying the “cells gone awry” theory that still predominates; I say the culprit is a semi-biological infectious organism like a prion.”
      skin cancer due to sunlight can not have anything do with an infection, or does it?

      • dearieme says:

        Does everyone suffer from sunlight to the same degree and in the same way? If not, something else – or somethings else – matter too.

  28. ChrisA says:

    Usually when I see overly strong reactions like this I suspect lack of confidence in the idea, they know deep down that it is vulnerable. It’s a bit like the global warming industry – the science is settled and all that, no-one needs to say that if the science is settled, for instance no-one argues the science is settled on basic thermodynamics – because it is obvious that it is.

    • albatross says:

      Approximately one zillion inventors of perpetual motion machines would like to discuss that claim with you….

      • ChrisA says:

        Actually I don’t see much claims nowadays of perpetual motion machines, and not many people denouncing perpetual motion claims on Twitter.

    • Thiago Ribeiro says:

      Is the science settled on Darwin vs Genesis?

    • megabar says:

      I dunno. I don’t see that. I have certainly seen people who have absolute confidence in their ideas react haughtily to new ones. I think some people just get off on being dismissive.

      It’s possible you’re right for some cases, but I don’t think it covers all.

  29. B.B. says:

    May I suggest that Lyme disease (and related co-infections) is a pathogen connected to AD. For discussion, see the book “Cure Unknown” about Lyme and other tick diseases.

    • Martin L. says:

      Not sure I buy this. Most people will get Alzheimer’s or something like it if they live long enough and most people don’t get successfully bitten by Lyme ticks.

  30. Glengarry says:

    “Science progresses one funeral at a time.”

    • teageegeepea says:

      Someone actually decided to subject that hypothesis to some empirical evidence:
      https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/fsSoAMsntpsmrEC6a/does-blind-review-slow-down-science

      • Glengarry says:

        ‘Hypothesis’ seems a bit much but okay.

        “Messeri finds that science does actually progress a lot faster than “one funeral at a time” (as Max Planck put it), and old scientists are ready to adopt new theories given sufficient evidence.”

        So the simple explanation for the case in the current post is that there merely is insufficient evidence for alternatives to the amyloid hypothesis to change the minds of the senior scientists engaged in the field.

        I’m not sure I’m convinced by Messeri though. More evidence needed.

        (Regarding peer review as such, which is a bit beside the point but mentioned, it’s of course better to have a professorial chair, sit on various committees, be the editor of key journals, etc.)

  31. Toddy Cat says:

    This is off-topic, but did Ron Unz hit his head or something?

    http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-oddities-of-the-jewish-religion/

    • Frau Katze says:

      I always thought Unz was odd. Wasn’t he born Jewish himself? I expect he no longer believes.

      This item is news to me:

      Furthermore, religious Jews apparently pray to Satan almost as readily as they pray to God, and depending upon the various rabbinical schools, the particular rituals and sacrifices they practice may be aimed at enlisting the support of the one or the other. Once again, so long as the rituals are properly followed, the Satan-worshippers and the God-worshippers get along perfectly well and consider each other equally pious Jews, merely of a slightly different tradition.

      • The G_Man says:

        It gets, ummm, odder:

        It appears that a considerable number of Ashkenazi Jews traditionally regarded Christian blood as having powerful magical properties and considered it a very valuable component of certain important ritual observances at particular religious holidays. Obviously, obtaining such blood in large amounts was fraught with considerable risk, which greatly enhanced its monetary value, and the trade in the vials of this commodity seems to have been widely practiced. Toaff notes that since the detailed descriptions of the Jewish ritualistic murder practices are very similarly described in locations widely separated by geography, language, culture, and time period, they are almost certainly independent observations of the same rite. Furthermore, he notes that when accused Jews were caught and questioned, they often correctly described obscure religious rituals which could not possibly have been known to their Gentile interrogators, who often garbled minor details. Thus, these confessions were very unlikely to have been concocted by the authorities.

        Since Steve Sailer reads this blog, I think it’s time for someone to tell him that his whole ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ approach has run its course. Find a platform not run by a nut and stop endorsing his runs for Senate.

        • Frau Katze says:

          Yep, I posted it without reading the whole thing. Unz getting Alzheimer’s?

        • pop says:

          For several years, possibly even now, Unz paid Sailer more than $20,000 a year. I am recalling this from reading the Form 990 from Unz’s old charity. That puts Sailer in an awkward position, harder for him to flee the site like Razib and others did, it would look ungrateful even if he isn’t getting paid like that now.

          Unz’s level of crazy just keeps ramping up each year too, and there never was some sudden break with reality you can point to. His embrace of hard core neo-nazi antisemitism stuff started about a year ago, with frequent “featured videos” from the neo-nazi Red Ice Radio, such as this 6.5 hour, 26 part pro-Hitler video series: https://redice.tv/red-ice-radio/adolf-hitler-the-greatest-story-never-told

          • Randy says:

            YHWY forbid whites take their own side

          • The G_Man says:

            One of Sailer’s main points is that Jews are excessively paranoid about anti-semitism, especially from WASP Americans. It’s a good point, but one can’t help but think it would be more convincing coming from a man who isn’t being promoted by a guy who believes that one of the main problems with the American media is that it won’t educate Americans about the reality of Jews slaughtering Christian children in blood rituals for Purim [Sic!].

  32. Philip Neal says:

    Indeed. I hope that Steve Sailer and James Thompson archive their content separately offsite.

  33. G.M. says:

    Alzheimer’s affects Caucasians at far higher rates than Mongoloids & Negroids. If you are a globalist elite with an anti-White racial animus, don’t solve Alzheimer’s.

  34. John Hamilton says:

    I read your paper on all this and found it persuasive, but, my God, whenever you post one of these things about some disease I do some simple searching on Wikipedia. The information is just sitting there: the Turkey herpesvirus vector laryngotracheitis vaccine prevents atherosclerosis in chickens! (Link here: https://books.google.com/books?id=0ToGnkORSAMC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25#v=onepage&q&f=false.) And you find paragraphs like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herpes_simplex_virus#Alzheimer's_disease. How much money do we have going into Herpes simplex vaccines research again?

  35. jimeo722 says:

    I think I know why. Experts have a vested interest suppressing evidence that they’ve spent their entire careers – and your tax money – barking up the wrong tree.

  36. Pingback: The Power Of Comfortable Beliefs | The Z Blog

  37. Anonymous says:

    Have always wondered why medical research did not analyze Alzheimer’s in the context of Transmissable Spongiform Encephalopathy and various “mad cow” and CJD type “diseases”. Very similar pathologies, symptoms, physiological evidence that all these diseases may be indeed pathogen induced and/or related to exposure to abnormal proteins called prions.

  38. Well said. It appears the amyloid plaque is the result of brain cell injury not the cause just as a scab is not the cause of a cut.

  39. Pingback: How Much does Nutrition Matter? | Bayesian Investor Blog

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