Looking with Fresh Perspective

Following on from my last post, Cause or Effect, I stumbled upon another related article today, “Could This Radical New Approach to Alzheimer’s Lead to a Breakthrough?” by Rick Tetzeli.

This presents another hypothesis that bacteria are involved in Alzheimers and other neurological diseases, only this time it’s a toxin (BMAA) found in common cyanobacteria which are found all around us in oceans, lakes, ponds, and even in the crusts of deserts. They have found evidence that the BMAA toxin can interfere with protein chains and cause the misfolding characteristic of these brain diseases.

Maybe the cause of Alzheimer's is a combination of toxins from different kinds of bacteria, whether gum disease bacteria or cyanobacteria.

What I loved about this cyanobacteria story is that the scientists involved in the studies were looking at a wide variety of ideas - botany, culture, bat zoology, and human behavior - and making cross-connections in new and imaginative ways. The study eventually narrowed its focus on the varied diets of people living in far flung places like Guam, Japan, Florida, Lake Erie, and Qatar. The scientists began to connect the dots, developing a theory of toxin building from these bacteria and getting into the food chain. This new hypothesis also suggests a novel treatment method not yet explored by big pharma companies narrowly focused on fighting amyloid plaques.

It just goes to show that studying a problem with a fresh perspective can result in creative solutions, especially when there is a road block to more derivative, routine methods.

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