Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” –Matthew 13:24-30 (Editor’s note: Normally I pick a nice verse that matches the date just to show how cool the Bible is…but this verse remind me about today’s topic, so I used it.)
Hi all! Happy Monday!!!
Did you see the new drug that was approved today by the FDA? Aducanumab will begin production as soon as possible and will be sold under the trade name Aduhelm. It is truly exciting for many, many of us! This drug has had a long road to approval, first getting shut down a few years ago because the risk outweighed what seemed to be a minimal benefit. Then, after the numbers were crunched further and the data was more thoroughly inspected, Biogen decided to try it on an increased dose with the same participants of the early study and it seems to be more effective in that format. It is administered through an IV and will need to be given approximately monthly at an unknown cost. It is designed only for those with MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment—essentially pre-Alzheimer’s) and those in the early stage of the disease. It is not a cure, but it is shown to greatly reduce potentially disease-causing Beta-Amyloid plaque significantly and seems to extend the early stage of the disease, preventing it from advancing rapidly (although it may still advance). It is not restorative either and this is the reason why I titled the article as I did.
Have you ever gardened? I mean really gardened? Something big? In the early 2000s I build a house with my bride in Battlefield, Missouri in a new subdivision location formally occupied by cows. These cows did a whole bunch of what cows do and the soil was rich from said doodoo. We fenced in out back yard and decided quickly that mowing the yard was a pain and we liked garden veggies…so we would dip our toe in the gardening pool. Actually we dove in. I tilled, landscape timbered and prepared a garden that was a whopping 24’x36′, eating up half of my back yard. My thinking was “Yum…free veggies.” Spoiler alert if you are considering such madness, know this: These are the most expensive free veggies ever! But I digress…
So I grew this mammoth garden and the plants grew like beanstalks. It was as if every plant found a lateral line in my septic and boomed! It was amazing. It was intricate. My success bred success…I passed out veggies to everyone. I tried to keep the bugs back with marigolds and with natural and non-natural substances…and did ok in that realm. However, the weeds also seemed to really dig my beautiful dirt.
Before these weeds “became a problem”, they were present. I noticed a few here and there and picked them. I wanted to stop them from becoming a problem. As the great horticulturist Barney Fife would explain, “You gotta nip it in the bud!!!” and that I did. Then, for some odd reason that escapes me (probably laziness/a Cardinal series being broadcast on TV/some other reason) I missed some weeding time. Then I missed some more. Then more. Pretty soon my garden was struggling. My wonderful garden became hard to tend and hard to look at. The good plants died and all that was left, for the most part, were a shell of the old veggie producers and a mass of junk.
Aducanumab/Aduhelm reminds me of the progression of my garden. The new drug, if you use it early and often and in the right dose, will fight beta amyloid plaques like a boss…so I read. However, you need to catch it early and keep fighting. Am I excited about this drug? Very. Am I a tad bit sad too? Very. My mom’s garden is smothered out by the weeds. I can pull weeds all day long and it isn’t going to help. Her brain mass is less than 40% of what it was. In fact, I may even mistake the weeds for the good plants they are so intertwined and cause harm. This drug will not help her a lick, and it would probably hurt more than it helped.
What can we learn here? These three takeaways come to mind:
- This is great news for those fighting the manageable weeds! While the jury is stiff technically out in the “stage 4” of the drug lifecycle (It will be used as an approved drug, but can be pulled quite quickly if the bad outweighs the good), it seems like if you catch the weeds early enough, this drug can slow their encroachment and give you a better quality of life for a longer time. More time with your loved one to make arrangements, to share life, and to fight for a cure. This is the best news.
- This highlights the need to talk to your doctor if you show warning signs of dementia! If you catch it early…while the weeds are small and the plants are big…you can keep picking corn and tomatoes! If you wait too long, all you will pick is thistle and tumbleweed.
- New types of drugs breed more drugs that build off them. Like it or not, we are a capitalist society. We are… Money drives things. I get and understand your possible frustration that something as critical as medicine has to jump through these hoops, but it does. In fact, I would argue that because money is in this process, America has been outstanding at creating new drugs. We need to make money and keep stockholders happy, so we burn the candle at both ends. My hope is this drug both helps and spurs on more and more growth in this class of drug until the market is full of options. This is a step in the right direction!
It is a bittersweet day, I will admit it. I wish this drug would cure my mom. Selfish, I know…I get it. I am excited about the good things I have read and, despite the negative press on the drug, I am optimistic that many gardens can keep providing produce for more and more time, buying us some more time to find a cure/vaccine. I hope it and I pray it early and often.
No mom updates. 🙁 40% employee vaccination rates and another tested positive. I am at least 2 weeks away from visiting again. 🙁 Meanwhile the garden’s weeds keep choking out the last plants. 🙁
Runnin’ Til I’m Purple: We are at $5325 and have surpassed our goal of $5280! I am awaiting our shirt money too. Who knows…maybe we will get to $6,000? $8,000? 2 miles of dollars??? 🙂 Thank you again to every single person who has donated, who has encouraged, and who has prayed for me. 🙂 13 days from now I will run this thing as best I can. If drugs like Aduhelm can slow things down, maybe, just maybe, we will have a cure to share soon too! 🙂 Celebrate now, then get back to work. 🙂