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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cerebrolysin - A Promising New Dementia Drug

 Well, maybe Cerebrolysin is more targeted towards Vascular Dementia rather than bvFTD, but anything that promotes the growth and slows the death of brain cells sounds like it wouldn't hurt. There is a great

deal of information available on the internet, and I recommend searching for it if you are interested in additional insight. It was recommended by a reader that I look into it, and I would like to thank Scott for his comment on this blog, and his persistence in nagging me until I actually did it. Sometimes it is very difficult to stay motivated writing and answering. Every article or post is a little triumph. Some days are easier than others.

The following article appeared on the Psyche Central website. The Psych Central Network contains copyrighted material, trademarks and other proprietary information, including, but not limited to, text, software, photos, video, graphics, music and sound, and the entire contents of the Psych Central Network are copyrighted as a collective work under the United States copyright laws. There is a large selection of very interesting articles, blogs, and research located on their website located here: Psych Central – Mental health & psychology information and support.

New Drug Cerebrolysin Shows Promise for Dementia

By Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 3, 2013
Cerebrolysin, a promising new treatment made from pig brain proteins, has been found to enhance cognitive function in patients with vascular dementia — a type of dementia caused by damage to the network of blood vessels supplying the brain.

Those with vascular dementia often experience difficulty thinking quickly, concentrating and communicating and may suffer from seizures and severe confusion. There is currently no definitive treatment for vascular dementia.

For the study, researchers looked at data from six randomized controlled trials involving 597 people. All participants received Cerebrolysin intravenously in different daily concentrations and for different treatment periods, from a few weeks to three years, depending on the trial.
Cerebrolysin is currently approved in 44 countries worldwide, for stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury. Cerebrolysin is currently in Phase 3 trials in multiple countries in Europe. It is manufactured by Ebewe Pharmaceutical.

Cerebrolysin significantly improved cognitive function compared to standard care alone or placebos. Participants were tested on their recall, arithmetic or other cognitive abilities. The drug also had a small positive effect on patients’ overall clinical state. There was also some suggestion that long-term treatment was associated with greater benefits, although only two trials looked at long-term effects.
“Our review suggests that Cerebrolysin can help improve cognitive and global function in patients with mild to moderate severity vascular dementia,” said researcher Li He, M.D., of the Department of Neurology at Sichuan University in Sichuan, China.

“The results are promising but due to low numbers of trials, inconsistencies between trials, risk of bias in the way some of the trials were conducted and lack of long-term follow-up, we cannot yet recommend Cerebrolysin as a routine treatment for vascular dementia.”

None of the participants reported serious side effects from the drug, and non-serious side effects were no more common in those who took the drug compared to control groups.

“This indicates to us that Cerebrolysin is safe and well tolerated by patients with vascular dementia,” said He. “But the fact that it has to be given in regular intravenous infusions means it could be impractical for use on a large scale.”

 Well, Cerebrolysin does certainly sound promising. I would be very tempted to try it except for 2 main reasons: First it is only administered by intramuscular injection or Intravenously. Though I do not have any great needle-phobia (being Diabetic you get used to stabbing yourself with a needle even if it is just to test glucose levels), giving myself a shot every weekday for a few months isn't something I would seek out. In truth, it is something I actively avoid! Second, and most importantly, is the expense. Cerebrolysin is an unapproved drug available in the United States for research, no insurance will cover it, though I understand that it is legal to buy it as it is not a controlled substance. Since the recommended dosage is 5-10 mg/day 5 days a week for 3 months the cost is around $1200-$2400 at $40 for a 10/mg ampule. With the recommended 2 months off between treatment cycles it comes to over $3500-$7000 a year. Not many people with bvFTD have those kinds of resources left. Most are on disability, and unable to work. Many have no insurance other than Medicare.

If my insurance would cover it, I would seriously consider it in spite of the downside of being a human pincushion. As for now I guess I will reorder some Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract. I haven’t taken it for a year, and maybe it helps.

Comments are welcome.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Allergies And Auctions

Some items for sale at our space in the Antique Mall, Blissfield, Michigan
I apparently have survived another April, and it appears with any luck at all I will make it through May also. Last Spring, and the one before, were very difficult times. This year had its moments, but overall was much more manageable. I am not sure why. I do not think that I did anything different with the exception of using a different antihistamine.

Last Spring I began to suspect that the antihistamine I was taking might be causing some major problems with my working memory. I basically lost about 2 months of memory. I was OK "in the moment", and functioned passably well. I did avoid almost all social contact during that period, and became a total hermit. I wrote something about that in a previous post. This year was better.

I used Zyrtec, or rather the Dollar Store equivalent of Zyrtec, instead of Chlortrimaton or Sudafed, or a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of them. That is the only change that I am aware of. Allergy season this year has been less severe than last, so I did not need as much medication overall. That may also have had some effect.

I still couldn't walk for several weeks. We have been trying to figure out just what it is that I do every Spring that aggravates my Achilles tendon. I get tendonitis so bad in my right foot that I end up totally non-weight bearing for a few weeks. For the past 15 years or so I have walked a couple miles every week in March, April, and May counting frogs. This year it was cut short by a few weeks, and I did not go in March. Since frog counting was only about 30% of what I have done in the past I do not think that is the problem. I also spend some time on a ladder putting the top on the guyzebo, and general spring maintenance. Then there is some gardening, which does involve either a garden fork or shovel. Both put a strain on the Achilles tendon.

Well, it could be most anything. My podiatrist hasn't a clue. Really that appointment was a total waste of time and money. After an exam and several X-rays the verdict was the same as it was 15 years ago. I have a bone spur at the insertion point of the Achilles tendon of my right foot. It causes flare-ups of tendonitis. Surgery is not recommended. Treatment options are limited to NSAIDS ...so after all that his advice is to stay off my foot when it hurts, and take Ibuprofen. Well, he also found some moderate arthritis in my toe joints, and evidence of a pretty severe sprain. I was well aware of that when it happened last November, and I was unable to walk for almost 12 weeks!

I might not have been walking all that well, but I was rarely immobilized for more than a couple days at a time. I limped, but I got where I was going. Good thing because I had a lot to do.

Sometime around February the bank which holds my house mortgage contacted me about refinancing. I had tried this a year ago, and after jumping through many hoops at their request, and plunking out nearly $1200 to get various surveys, and pay them for nothing they could ever justify, they pulled the loan offer. Supposedly we were going to closing, and about 4 days before my rate-lock expired I received a letter from the bank stating they would no longer refinance my house. I felt used and abused! Betrayed! Screwed! Bait & switched! Did I say I was displeased?

In talking to a few other people locally I found that they had had a similar experience. All of them had dealt with 5/3 Bank, and had spent between one and three thousand dollars only to have the loan fall through.

Needless to say I was sceptical when they contacted me again. I explained what had happened the year before, and was told that there had been some problems in the Michigan office, several people were no longer associated with 5/3, and that my refinance would now be handled through the Cincinnati office. Well and good. They then said the cost of the refinance would be $350. I believe my exact words were, "Fuck you!" ...and I hung up.

Well, a couple days later I received a phone call from 5/3, and they said that they had checked the records from last year, and things had been mishandled so badly that they would re-do it without any additional fees. I said OK. So, I have been jumping through hoops again providing all kinds of unnecessary paperwork because everything from last year was "lost", but supposedly the refinance should close in a couple of weeks. The interest rate is actually a full percent lower than that offered a year ago. Other than that the terms are the same. The benefit is a house payment that is a couple hundred dollars a month lower, and my ex-wife's name will be removed from the mortgage. YAY!

In the event that this refinance falls through again, I will look at my house payment as rent. Maybe when I am ready to move to a smaller place I might be gone several months before the bank realizes this old house is empty, and that the pipes, radiators, and wiring have all been stolen by thieves in the night, and sold for scrap. ...but hopefully it won't come to that. It is always good to have a "plan B".

Finances have been tight, as usual. I sold some old role-playing games I had collected, along with some collectible cards and magazines. That caught up on some bills, and left a little to buy some stuff at auctions. My friend Cindy and I have been buying, and more importantly selling, all kinds of odds and ends, antiques, and collectibles, since selling the games. So far we have just about doubled our investment, but still have a long way to go because we still have too much tied up in inventory.

The downside is that my house looks like something from the TV show Hoarders for weeks at a time with boxes of "stuff" everywhere. It is a lot of work cleaning things up, repairing them, sorting it all, and repackaging it into new lots for the different auctions. Some of the stuff is really dusty, musty, and dirty. Do you remember the part about the allergies? Some of it we just "sort to the trash". Some of the nicer items we sell directly, or place in our booth at the antique mall. The upside is that it is like a treasure hunt. We have found some really kool stuff in some of those boxes.

For example: We paid $2.50 for about 250 teddy bears. There are bunches of Boyd's, Ty, and other name brand collectibles. All kinds, and all in perfect condition. Some dolls too, and a few can be seen in the picture above. We have sold a few dozen, and made more than 10 times the investment already ...but that still leaves a couple hundred teddy bears on my front porch. Oh bother! I purchased 2 dehumidifiers at an auction for $6 each. Cindy sold them for $225. Nice profit! There are loses, too. About $100 worth of vintage games sold for a whopping $19! Ouch! Basically, that is what we have been doing for the past couple of months. It is more than a hobby, but not really a business yet. It is a lot of fun, and a lot of work, but it sure beats begging for handouts on the street.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot that I have bvFTD. Most days it is just a part of my everyday life now. I am taking the same medications, and still have occasional side effects. I have adapted where I can, and just muddle through the rest of the time. I have some assistance, but am still independent ...like my politics. So, how does bvFTD fit in to all of this auction stuff?  I walk around in circles a lot, can't remember why I just went into the kitchen, load and unload the same box a few times, can't do even simple math (for example I was going to put the actual profit down for the dehumidifiers, but I am not capable of doing even that simple computation any more). I can't plan the sales, or make the phonecalls to the various sellers. I am a total waste, and Cindy does most of the work and planning. But hey! I buy stuff! I bid a dolla!

Some days are better than others.