With all the bad news, sometimes you need a positive message of hope, and boy did I come across a couple of them today. Both of them involve treatment of disease.
The first comes out of the renowned Cleveland Clinic, where researchers at the Lerner Institute have demonstrated, at least in animals, that they may be able to successfully treat Alzheimer’s disease and reverse it.
Now, how would you even know an animal has Alzheimer’s? I guess the answer is the same way a clinician would spot it in humans — through the buildup of plaque on the brain, which interferes with the transmission of impulses between brain cells.
Researchers found that by gradually depleting a particular enzyme in the nervous system, they could reverse the formation of plaque in the brain, thereby improving the animals’ cognitive function.
This is not the first time these effects have been demonstrated, although reportedly, it is the most dramatic reversal of plaque formation seen yet. The problem in the past has been, where cognitive function improved through the reduction of the enzyme, motor function declined.
The positive thing about this study is that learning and memory were improved and plaque was reduced without unwanted toxicity and negative side effects. In my book, that sounds very hopeful for a condition that has routinely left families feeling helpless and heartbroken, and thinking there’s nothing you can do about it.
Today’s second dispatch of hope comes to us from Stanford University, where medical researchers used adult stem cells, again in animals, to create a vaccine to combat past, present and future cancers. I don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of this stuff, but what I took from the article I read in the scientific journal is that researchers took stem cells from the skin of a mouse and injected them with cancer from the same mouse to create a vaccine that would build up immunity against that cancer, much like the vaccines for flu and other diseases, only these are patient specific.
Due to the advances in genetic engineering, they are able to program those new stem cells with information that tells them to be on the lookout for cancer and don’t let it in, and if by chance it does get in, go destroy it.
Mind you, this is not some far-off fantasy, it’s something they’re doing in the laboratory right now with mice, and they believe it could very possibly become part of a standard approach to treating established cancers and preventing future cancers, and to me that sounds pretty darn hopeful, because it takes one more thing that the mass consensus mindset tells us we can’t do anything about, and it does something about it.
Now if we could only start making some progress on other, less-quantifiable diseases that plague us like greed, conceit, cynicism, coldheartedness and other infectious maladies that don’t get diagnosed in doctor’s offices or solved in laboratories. Rather, these sorts of ailments are recognized in the mirror of self-reflection and eradicated in the arena of karmic cleansing and in the conscious striving/aiming for our highest and best selves.
As with other diseases, detection is key, and unfortunately many of those who are most affected aren’t even aware of it, so they’re walking around spreading it to others. But also unlike some of the other diseases, with these each of us has the capacity and the capability to be part of the healing — our own and of others.
As these experiments on Alzheimer’s and cancer show, there is cause for hope, and hope is a powerful force to compel us forward in life’s journey, and adding something good into the world.