$20 Billion Industry

Diagram of how microtubules desintegrate with ...

disintegrated microtubules

An August weekend copy of the Europe The Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled: “Research Points to ‘Silent Phase’ of Alzheimer’s.” The first paragraph stated that a new “explosion” of research has been bolstering “an emerging view” that Alzheimer’s disease can begin to ravage “the brain years or even decades before” enough symptoms appear to diagnose the disease.

These findings, presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, are apparently influencing how scientists are thinking about the disease “…and the pharmaceutical industry’s quest for effective drugs against the disease.”

The article continued: “The findings are prompting companies like Pfizer Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Bristol-Myers Squibb Col to increase their focus on patients with mild memory symptoms.”

The next paragraph contained a sentence, which was the one for why I share this information with you: “Some analysts estimate the market for a drug that could slow or reverse Alzheimer’s could be as large as $20 billion a year.“

I hold the personal belief that the Alzheimer’s Association (not the Alzheimer’s Foundation or other organizations that have been formed to fight Alzheimer’s) is using marketing to make mucho buckos.  Their aggressive marketing has succeeded in making people believe that Alzheimer’s is the only form of dementia out there.  Dementia is no longer the umbrella term for loss of memory and every day functions.  Alzheimer’s is.

Certainly there should be a concern with regard to Alzheimer’s disease.  But it really is not the only form of dementia out there.  Below are a few other causes of dementia and this list by no means cover all the causes:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Alcohol related dementia – Korsakoff’s syndrome
  • AIDS related dementia
  • Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD)
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

An article that speaks about findings that “may indicate” that the “ravages” of Alzheimer’s “may occur before symptoms do” seems to reflect more the rather aggressive means by which the Alzheimer’s Association is trying to corner the market than anything that could potentially alter the onset of Alzheimer’s.  But the Association does have the public’s attention and apparently the pharmaceutical Industry’s attention as well.  One could endlessly produce pills that might counter what might be the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s.  Whether these pills are successful or not seem, if one were to read the article as written [granted, for the Wall Street Journal], secondary to the fact that this endeavor could potentially be a $20 billion industry.


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