Hunting an Elusive Killer

Fighting an Environmental Trigger for ALS, Alzheimer's and other Tangle Diseases

Paul Alan Cox, Ph.D., Institute for Ethnomedicine, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

In a remarkable scientific detective story, Cox and his colleagues journeyed to small islands in the Pacific, high lakes in the Andes, remote villages in Japan and markets in western China in search of an elusive killer. Their studies of tribes with the highest known rates of the "tangle" diseases led to the discovery that cyanobacteria that contaminate lakes, reservoirs and other water supplies produce BMAA, a neurotoxin that can trigger misfolding and protein aggregations in brain proteins in susceptible individuals. BMAA occurs in contaminated drinking water, certain types of seafood and even desert dust. These discoveries have led to two new drugs for ALS that are now being tested in FDA-approved human clinical trials. Cox's team is now seeking to use that research to develop new therapies for Alzheimer's disease.

MLF: Health & Medicine/Science & Technology
Location: SF Club Office
Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program
Cost: $20 non-members, $8 members, $7 students (with valid ID)
Program Organizer: Bill Grant

October 2, 2013