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Wednesday 23 October 2019

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. A new wonder drug for dementia? What is the truth behind the media hype?

There is news today 23 October 2019) of a new wonder drug that can treat Alzheimer's disease. It's called aducanumab. It has hit the headlines in BBC News ('First drug that can slow Alzheimer's dementia'), the Times ('Alzheimer's drug suggests our research billions were not for naught'), the Telegraph ('New drug that halts mental decline is 'best news for dementia in 25 years'), and no doubt the rest of the mainstream media too. You do not need to read all these accounts as they are all virtually identical. The source material will undoubtedly be a press release by the drug company, Biogen, which is seeking regulatory approval in the USA for this 'groundbreaking" drug.

The news will encourage, and raise the expectations, of millions of people who suffer from, or have loved one's who suffer from, dementia. The pharmaceutical industry has done it again! It has come up with yet another wonder drug that will transform our health! Or so they are led to  believe.

The truth is rather more uncertain than the media coverage, who as usual have meekly accepted what the drug company has told them, without investigating any of the downsides. So what is the truth about aducanumab? What is known about it that we are not supposed to know?
  • In March 2015, Biogen presented 'positive interim results' of a study.
  • In March 2019, just four years later, Biogen discontinued all trials into the drug.
Why was this? We are told that an "independent data monitoring committee advises aducanumab unlikely to meet primary endpoints", although we were also told that "the recommendation to stop the studies was not based on safety concerns". So what was it based on? Presumably it was found not to be effective!

But what about the safety of aducanumab? Conventional medicine frequently dismisses any safety concerns that are known about drugs, both old and new. This is the warning statement about aducanumab on the website.

               "Patients treated with adalimumab are at increased risk of infection, some of which may become serious and lead to hospitalization or death. These infections have included TB, invasive fungal infections, bacterial, viral, and those caused by opportunistic pathogens including Legionella and Listeria." (my emphasis).

For conventional medicine (and the website is owned by pharmaeutical interests) such safety concerns do not warrant any more than a warning, however drastic that warning might be! And, of course, the trials abandoned in March 2019 had nothing to do with 'safety' concerns! Instead, doctors are advised to take care about how the drug is used.

               "The risks and benefits of therapy should be carefully considered prior to treatment initiation in patients with chronic or recurrent infection. Evaluate for latent TB and treat if necessary prior to initiating therapy. Monitor patients closely for signs and symptoms of infection during and after treatment, including the possible development of TB in patients who tested negative prior to treatment. Consider empirical antifungal therapy in at-risk patients who develop severe systemic illness. Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in pediatric and adolescent patients treated with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers such as adalimumab. Postmarketing cases of hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma (HSTCL), usually fatal, have been reported in patients treated with TNF blockers including adalimumab, primarily in adolescent and young adult males with Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis." (my emphasis).

Clearly, the concept of 'first do not harm", and the precautionary principle" do not apply to conventional medical practice.

Nor does it appear to be a concern for the mainstream media. I did not have to struggle to find this informaton. It is not hidden. Nor is it information that comes from anywhere else but conventional medical literature. But the mainstream media does not bother to inform us. And the drug companies are, as sure as hell, will not do so!

What guides the BBC, the Telegraph, the Times, et al., is what drug companies want us to know; not what we need to know about these 'wonder drugs' before we begin to consume them.

This is not unusual. Whenever we face an epidemic of chronic disease, such as dementia, but also allergy, arthritis, autism, diabetes, and so many more, the first questions asked by the conventional medical establishment is "how can we respond?" "What treatments (usually what drug) do we have to combat this epidemic?"

The first question that should be asked, both by doctors and patients, is - "what has caused this epidemic?" Why are the numbers of older people, and even young adults and children, now suffering from dementia increasing so rapidly?"

Unfortunately it is a question that conventional medicine, and the drug companies that controls it, do not want us to ask. The cause of these epidemic levels of chronic disease are pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines - at least in large measure. They are certainly known to cause dementia, and although doctors know this (it's in their medical literature) they certainly do not want us to know!

Asking such a question does not fit in with the business plan of the pharmaceutical industry, which is to treat illness with drugs that cause other illnesses through side effects, and then treat these illnesses with other drugs, which also cause side effects............. and so on.

So investigating the CAUSE of Alzheimer's is not part of conventional medical strategy. Finding new, and every more harmful (and profitable) drugs to treat it, most certainly is! And our mainstream media is complicit in this.

Postscript (7th June 2021)
This awful drug, Aducanumab, has raised its ugly head again. 18 months after this free advertising of a nasty drug the mainstream media is at it again.
"US approves first new Alzheimer's drug in 20 years" is the BBC's headline. It is good, free advertising, although this time the BBC does mention the "uncertainty" about the drug trial results; but of course this  is not reflected in the headline.

And it's more than just 'uncertainty'. Members of the FDA (the USA drug regulator) have resigned "amid backlash over controversial drug approval". Even members of the pharmaceutical medical establishment will take action to prevent patient harm by such an approval. Perhaps all is not well within conventional medicine!