Just Get a Transplant, Any Transplant

From the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease(1) comes an observational study that says the use of anti-rejection transplant drugs translates to a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the old-old. In the study “UTMB researchers examined the medical records of more than 2,600 patients who received organ transplants and were given tacrolimus or cyclosporine.

Overall, no matter what the age group examined, the patients who were taking one of the two drugs had far less prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia than the general public, the researchers reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. For example, while 15.3% of the general population over the age of 75 had dementia, just over 0.6% of the study group did.

That’s a pretty significant discovery. Almost makes you want a new Kidney just for the anti-rejection drugs. They are now pursuing versions of the drugs that don’t suppress the immune system – a side effect that wouldn’t be good for seniors of any age.

The target of the study is calcineurin inhibitors. “Calcineurin is an enzyme that controls communications between brain cells and the formation of memories.”

Better Living Through Chemistry? Maybe Timothy Leary was spot on …

(1) Taglialatela G, et al. Reduced Incidence of Dementia in Solid Organ Transplant Patients Treated with Calcineurin Inhibitors. J Alzheimers Dis. 2015; doi: 10.3233/JAD-150065.

Kenneth Capron

About Kenneth Capron

Ken Capron comes from a medical background. His Dad was Maine’s 3rd radiologist. His Mom a Mass General nurse. His sister a Physical Therapist in Maryland. His oldest sister was a Resident Manager of a senior housing facility in Maryland. Ken himself was trained as a CPA with a focus on non-profits and healthcare. He worked as Controller at Wentworth-Douglas in Dover and then six years as Director of Accounting at Maine Med. Ken likes to say he’s had 16 different careers – from Real Estate Broker to hobby store owner. Ken also is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer. In 2013, Ken founded MemoryWorks to provide support to people with dementia, their caregivers and all the providers that care for PWD.