A Proposed Cure for Alzheimer’s Disease???

I was thinking about the reaction to my posts over the past 48 hours, and it occurred to me that maybe they would receive a better reaction if I did a better job of demonstrating the epistemic virtues championed by the rationality community.

The all-time greatest hits for demonstrating epistemic virtue are, of course, falsifiable predictions about the outcome of an experiment that has not been conducted, could not be conducted using the resources available to the predictor, and which matter a great deal to the community assessing the epistemic virtue of the predictor.

So I thought I would post my theory of the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease, along with a description of a low-cost treatment that this theoretical etiology would suggest would treat and even reverse the symptoms of this dread disease.

What? I hear the reader gasp in shocked dismay. He’s doing it again? This guy really is the crank-to-end-all-cranks! And so I am, I suppose. But I invite any interested readers who care about someone who has or may develop Alzheimer’s disease to test out my theory in a randomized clinical trial. If I had my druthers, I would nominate @Scott Alexander to organize the clinical trial, since he is both well-regarded by the community, and a domain expert in psychiatry, the relevant science.

Prior Work

We link to popular treatments of some important prior work to establish that this theory is grounded in up-to-date science.

https://​​alzheimergut.org/​​ is the website associated with existing research into the gut microbiome hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease.

https://​​github.com/​​epurdy/​​ethicophysics/​​blob/​​main/​​serotonin.pdf is my personal (incomplete) theory on the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the mammalian nervous system.

https://​​www.sciencedirect.com/​​science/​​article/​​abs/​​pii/​​S0920996417305017#:~:text=Conclusions%3A%20violent%20schizophrenia%20patients%20treated,the%20placebo%20after%20twelve%20weeks. is a description of the use of fish oil to treat schizophrenia. This is a treatment that has shown some limited success in treating schizophrenia.

https://​​www.quantamagazine.org/​​in-the-guts-second-brain-key-agents-of-health-emerge-20231121/​​ is a description of the relation of serotonin in the gut to glial cells in the brain.

Proposed Treatment

  • A very serious course of very serious antibiotics

  • A stool transplant from a healthy subject

  • Megadoses of EPA and DHA

  • A clinically relevant dose of a typical SSRI (Zoloft should work, Trazodone might work too. The question of Trazodone is actually kind of a crucial detail that I don’t understand yet, since Trazodone is a short-term serotonin antagonist as well as (I think?) an SSRI. So animal studies would want to examine both drugs.)

  • Adequate sleep

  • A diet rich in the protein, nutrients, and micronutrients that make up the human brain. I think there is a rich existing literature investigating the question of diets that slow and mitigate the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

Proposed Etiology

  • A bad gut microbiome develops, for reasons that I do not understand, and which seem irrelevant to the correctness of this theory

  • Whatever mechanism that exists in the gut to pump massive amounts of serotonin into the bloodstream and into the “second brain” in the gut are disrupted

  • The organism’s neurotransmitter and neural activation profile becomes that of an animal starving to death

  • The brain relentlessly prunes itself to preserve calories in the face of this perceived impending caloric deficit

  • Presumably amyloid plaques are generated as some sort of neural scar tissue during this physiologically normal pruning process, generating the neural signature targeted (ineffectually) by the previous generation of Alzheimer’s treatments

  • The brain eats itself, destroying everything of value in its quest to survive.

  • We administer the treatment proposed above

  • The brain learns from the second brain in the gut that it need not eat itself

  • The increased serotonin coming from the Zoloft, along with the EPA and DHA coming from the supplements, together with the Alzheimers diet, allows and encourages the brain to trigger neurogenesis, reversing the decline and allowing the creation and integration of new neural tissue and structures.

  • The patient lives to a ripe old age in fine neuropsychiatric health, receiving additional stool transplants and courses of antibiotics sa needed.

Thank you for your time!