Alzheimer’s and IVIG Rx
Last week John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today brought attention to the results of a small study presented at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia. In this study, patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given antibody preparations, immunoglobulin preparations, which were obtained by pooling plasma from numerous blood donors. This sterile, medical product, IVIG, intravenous immunoglobulin, consists mostly of immunoglobulins, antibodies, and is administered intravenously (IV).
After receiving IVIG twice a month for three years, patient’s ‘ ability to function or think, their mood, or memory did not worsen over the three years. [Untreated Alzheimer’s disease patients typically show measurable declines in 3 to 6 months.]
The FDA, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has approved the use of IVIG for only six conditions. However, it has been used “off-label”, to try and treat about 50 other conditions, including infectious diseases, a wide-range of autoimmune conditions, organ transplant and cancer patients, blood, and neurological conditions to mention a few.
When practitioners are asked how s/he thinks IVIG works, the response is typically, except for infectious diseases, “we are not sure”.
IVIG Contains Immunoglobulins and Smaller Immune Factors
IVIG contains antibodies to organisms such as streptococcus, hepatitis, measles, polio, etc., that can specifically neutralize infectious agents. Other immunoglobulins may be directed against specific immunological factors.
However, viewing reported results in chronically ill populations, I have always been of the opinion that IVIG also contains cytokines, or cytokine-like immune molecules, with potent immune system-modulating properties, which help the body return to immune homeostasis, immune balance.
I suggest that the reason that Alzheimer’s patients receiving IVIG saw a stabilization of their symptoms, is that IVIG limited inflammatory responses and thus slowed the progression of disease.
Alzheimer’s and Inflammatory Cytokine Levels
This supposition is further supported by the fact that animal models suggest that excessive production of inflammatory cytokines, inflammatory messages, are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. These animals have a condition similar to human Alzheimer’s, and also have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in their blood. When a drug was administered that inhibited the cytokines, there was less damage to nerve cells and neurological outcomes in the animals improved.
The scientists suggest that blocking production of high amounts of inflammatory cytokines may be beneficial for any number of brain conditions, such as “Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), motor neurone disease, frontotemporal dementia, and complications from traumatic brain injury.” (1)
Immune Homeostasis, Immune Balance the Key to Health
Thus improvements, or at least delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s, or other brain –associated conditions, may be associated with the body achieving immune homeostasis. A body in inflammatory balance controls the immune system’s inappropriate inflammatory responses which otherwise may lead to damage of bystander tissues.
Feel free to contact Dr. Hellen at DrHellen@DrHellenGreenblatt.info with questions or to consult with her. A message may also be left at: 1.302-265.3870 or click on: http://drhellengreenblatt.info/contact-dr-hellen/.