Neurodegenerative Diseases: Exploring the Possibility of Early Detection


Susan Greenfield Discusses the Future of Degenerative Diseases

Susan Greenfield works on three main areas of research. The first involves one of the Scourges of the late 21st century, which is that as people are getting healthier, they’re going to live longer. As they live longer, the diseases of old age will become more to the fore and what I’m talking about is neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

What I’m trying to do is explore what is special about the brain cells that are affected in these diseases because we know that it’s not a generic feature of a brain cell to embark on a remorseless cycle of self-destruction that we call neurodegeneration. What we need to know, no one has really come up with a convincing theory yet, is what is the special mechanism by which these cells die when other cells don’t.

If we knew what that mechanism was, we could intercept it and we could intervene with medication.
My dream is that one day, one could have a blood test that would act as if like an early warning before the symptoms came on. That if some cells were dying and then if you know what the mechanism was, you could move in with a nasal spray or an oral medication and stop any more cells dying.

Susan Greenfield

My dream is that you’d go to the doctor and he’ll say there’s good news and bad news, or she would say there’s good news and bad news- the bad news is that your blood marker, rather like you have a cholesterol test, your blood marker is elevated. I fear that in a year or two, you’re going to start having dementia or movement problems that characterise these horrible diseases. However, the good news now is we have a medication that stops any more cells from dying. So, if you take that medication right now before the symptoms come on, because no more cells will die, the symptoms won’t come on.

That is my dream. I think that’s feasible. It’s not like building a time machine. It’s not like exploring eleven dimensions. It’s not defying the laws of physics in any way. It’s just requiring lots of resources and an open mind.

Learn more interesting information about the brain and how it is affected by neurodegenerative diseases by reading about Susan Greenfield online here. Buy Susan Greenfield books on Amazon here and follow Susan Greenfield on Twitter to keep up to date with all her latest news. 

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  1. I hope you find this blog interesting. Feel free to leave feedback. these are general information articles and not my own research.