Good News Friday: A potentially incredible Alzheimer’s breakthrough. A WWII vet meets some young fans. And the joy of hearing for the first time

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And a Happy Friday to you all. I’m in a good mood as usual just looking at the photo above, of my smiling, sweet Grandma Marcelle, who died two years ago after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

In just about every picture I’ve ever seen of my Grandma, she’s smiling. But Alzheimer’s robbed us of enjoying her final years completely, which is partly why I follow exciting breakthroughs in curing this awful disease so closely.

I know we’re a long ways away from a cure, and I know lots of diseases deserve lots of research funding. But Alzheimer’s affects so many, and is so cruel, that it seems it ought to be high on the list of priorities.

This story about a big development in a study at Duke University seems particularly promising.

Researchers at Duke announced that their studies of Alzheimer’s in mice had resulted in a new process they believe contributes to the disease’s development.

According to this story, they observed that in Alzheimer’s, immune cells that normally protect the brain instead begin to consume a vital nutrient called arginine.

By blocking this process with a drug, they were able to prevent the formation of ‘plaques’ in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, and also halted memory loss in the mice.

While no technique that is tested in an animal can be guaranteed to work the same way in humans, the findings are particularly encouraging because, until now, the exact role of the immune system and arginine in Alzheimer’s was completely unknown.

Sounds like this could be huge. Fingers crossed…

http://www.cbsnews.com/common/video/cbsnews_video.swf

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**Next up, this is a couple weeks old because I’m a little behind on my DVR these days, but it was so touching I wanted to share it. Twin 10-year-old boys Jack and Carter became obsessed recently, as many boys their age do, with the game “Battleship” and with boats and ships in general.

After a visit to see the Yorktown in Charleston, S.C., they learned about a soldier on the ship named Robert Harding, and became so interested in him that they tracked him down via email, and struck up a friendship.

Watch this great CBS Sunday Morning piece on what happens next (above).

**And finally today, these videos always make me smile. I’m not sure when this is from, but two separate Facebook friends posted it this week, so maybe it’s recent.

It’s simply about the joy of hearing, as humans of all ages get cochlear implants and experience the wonder of a sense they never before had.

 

 

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