Suffering from CRS? As in, “Can’t Remember … Stuff”)

If you thought there was a benefit to being over age 40, but you can’t remember what it is, this may be the clinical trial for you. Quincy Bioscience is accepting applicants for a memory loss study evaluating the impact of Prevagen¨ on cognitive function (most specifically, memory loss) for men and women aged 40 years and older. The place to apply is www.madisonmemorystudy.com.

I first heard of Prevagen from a friend who takes it; her husband died with Alzheimer’s disease, and she wanted to do anything she could to prevent the same outcome for herself. She swears that the supplement (capsule form) has improved her memory, and she thinks she has more energy now, too. More optimism. While Prevagen isn’t marketed as a cure for Alzheimer’s, it is being touted as a supplement that may prolong the onset and help with memory loss of even less specific origin.

One of the benefits of being in media is being able to interview key players in business and the scientific community. Joan Gillman and I invited Quincy Bioscience president Mark Underwood to be on our radio show, In Business with Jody and Joan, and we grilled him about the science behind the supplement.

There is a kind of jellyfish that, when it stings human beings, causes them to develop MS, though the fish stays immune. The science for identifying and retrieving the substance that insulated the creature from it’s own juices was created a Nobel-prize winning scientist. Since then, Quincy Bioscience has managed to make it synthetically and bottle it. In essence, Prevagen “is the first and only product to use the active ingredient apoaequorin, a caldium-binding protein discovered in jellyfish, to protect brain cells.”

After listening to Underwood’s scientific explanations, and finding out who was on his team of scientists, I was pretty sure that as soon as he could arrange clinical trials, the supplement would be tested for applications as a prescription medication. There’s a certain “magic” conferred on a prescription drug: Instant validation. Underwood understands this completely and he also understands that his concoction — if it works as he thinks it does — will create ripples far from his nucleus target audience of aging Baby Boomers with a little trouble remembering where they put their car keys.

There are now millions of people who have had chemotherapy, which kills fast-growing cells. I am one of those people, and will live the rest of my life on another drug which prevents my brain from benefiting from the estrogen my body produces. It’s a huge concern. So imagine a drug that could increase brain function; particularly, the memory synapses.

So I offered to be a guinea pig early on. I took Prevagen for 30 days (the capsules sell for about $2 each, dose is one daily). In that time frame, I put together a four-day retreat for In Business magazine, took on two new projects, started another Web site, and started my blog for bereaved parents. My focus was crystal clear and I noticed my mood improved. “Did they stick some St. John’s Wort in those capsules, too?” I wondered.

Then I went off for 30 days. I was not “foggy” that I was aware of, but I was not quite as … I don’t know … innovative? I mean, I wasn’t depressed or too tired, but … it wasn’t the same.

I went back on the supplements and again, I’ve had a boost of productivity. My mood is pretty good. The change is significant enough that I talked to my oncologist about the supplement and the effects I was noticing after taking it.

He grilled me. Was it like a caffeine energy boost? No. It is something moreÉ intrinsic. Something more like moving back toward who I was before cancer. Something more significant.

“I’m very, very interested in this experience you’re having,” he said. “Let me know what you think about it after you go off again. Keep me informed about the effects — both good and bad — that you’re having.” The thinking (my thinking, anyway) is that this supplement could have a huge impact for treating chemofog, or at least handling the symptoms, in the cancer community. If, in fact, it works as the scientists hope it does, it will be a goldmine for the founders. If it doesn’t, well, that’s what clinical trials are for. To separate the supplements from the drugs.

I have no interest in the drug financially. I’m not invested in it, and I don’t care if the owners make a million or go bust, though I thought Underwood is a nice guy. I do care, however, if there is a chance that this is doing what I think it is for me, and could be doing that for others, too.

Interested yourself for your own reasons? Cogstate will assess the cognitive affects of the drug. You can enroll online or call (608) 237-3170 for more information about the study.

If you do, write and let me know how it goes and what you think.

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