Thursday, August 03, 2006

Home Again

Only recently Stefan asked if I wanted to go to New York for a couple of days and I wasn't keen - didn't want to spend the money really - yet here we are just back from New York and Toronto! It is SO different when we are working, we have a purpose. It didn't hurt to be staying on Central Park South looking the length of it over the trees. 104 degrees in the city is something else again, the air was foul and there were distinct whiffs of sewer along 5th Avenue.

Interesting subject matter too, we are all riddled with prions (badly folded molecules) which create islands in the brain, causing Altzheimer's, so eat drink and be merry as long as it isn't hamburgers. Prions accumulate over your lifetime, and they contaminate other cells. Just thought you'd like to know.

What I hadn't realised (if the hypothesis is correct) is that Altzheimer's is a recent affliction, a product of the twentieth century, and although it isn't caused by CJD, they are both prion-related diseases.

Oh dear oh dear I am a health bore, but there is nothing more convincing than interviewing the researchers concerned for making up one's own mind about the weight of their argument.

Mainly we were filming case studies of stem cell therapy, very troubling. The people we interviewed are looking for miracles, and they are being relieved of a lot of money for progress. Scientific monitoring and followup seem to be non-existent. I can't help but feel some doctors are simply on a gravy train - certainly I heard of extortionate charges, and they seem to be inflated to meet the pocket of the individual.

Balance against that the simple procedure Stefan had, and the indisputable gains he has made. He outstripped me walking throught the terminal, when usually I have to wait for him. He can smell coffee, and petrol, and now food, and even scent if it is strong. He doesn't cough or snore or need to blow his nose, and his voice is less husky. Maybe the answer is that any treatment works better if you are not very sick. But all those dreadful, limp, brain-damaged children whose mothers are radiant with happiness because the child has made some tiny, tiny gain - it would break your heart.


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