Showing posts with label Cav1.2. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cav1.2. Show all posts

Friday, 23 February 2018

Verapamil or Rezular (R-verapamil) for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

A nasty condition that is equally nasty to spell - diarrhoea/diarrhea

Today’s post may help to explain why some people’s GI problems seem to vanish when they take Verapamil for their autism.

Verapamil is usually prescribed as an L-type calcium channel blocker, to lower blood pressure. This type of ion channel is widely expressed in the brain, the heart and the pancreas. The pancreas is where your body makes those digestive enzymes. Mast cells that release histamine also contain L-type calcium channels.

Verapamil blocks the L-type calcium channel Cav1.2, which in posts a few years ago I showed could be relevant for some types of autism. An extreme dysfunction of this ion channel leads to Timothy Syndrome, which is a single gene variant of autism with severe heart defects.  There is now some more recently published research which I have highlighted below.

L-type calcium channels are present in most electrically excitable cells and are needed for proper brain, muscle, endocrine and sensory function. There is accumulating evidence for their involvement in brain diseases such as Parkinson disease, febrile seizures and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacological inhibition of brain L-type channel isoforms, Cav1.2 and Cav1.3, may therefore be of therapeutic value. Organic calcium channels blockers are clinically used since decades for the treatment of hypertension, cardiac ischemia, and arrhythmias with a well-known and excellent safety profile. This pharmacological benefit is mainly mediated by the inhibition of Cav1.2 channels in the cardiovascular system. Despite their different biophysical properties and physiological functions, both brain channel isoforms are similarly inhibited by existing calcium channel blockers. In this review we will discuss evidence for altered L-type channel activity in human brain pathologies, new therapeutic implications of existing blockers and the rationale and current efforts to develop Cav1.3-selective compounds.

The L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) Cav1.2 and Cav1.3, encoded by the CACNA1C and CACNA1D genes, respectively, are important regulators of calcium influx into cells and are critical for normal brain development and plasticity. In humans, CACNA1C has emerged as one of the most widely reproduced and prominent candidate risk genes for a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder (BD), schizophrenia (SCZ), major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Separately, CACNA1D has been found to be associated with BD and autism spectrum disorder, as well as cocaine dependence, a comorbid feature associated with psychiatric disorders. Despite growing evidence of a significant link between CACNA1C and CACNA1D and psychiatric disorders, our understanding of the biological mechanisms by which these LTCCs mediate neuropsychiatric-associated endophenotypes, many of which are shared across the different disorders, remains rudimentary. Clinical studies with LTCC blockers testing their efficacy to alleviate symptoms associated with BD, SCZ, and drug dependence have provided mixed results, underscoring the importance of further exploring the neurobiological consequences of dysregulated Cav1.2 and Cav1.3. Here, we provide a review of clinical studies that have evaluated LTCC blockers for BD, SCZ, and drug dependence-associated symptoms, as well as rodent studies that have identified Cav1.2- and Cav1.3-specific molecular and cellular cascades that underlie mood (anxiety, depression), social behavior, cognition, and addiction.

I have crossed these ion channels off my “to do” list because I have found an effective therapy that works for my son and for the children of some other readers.  It does not work for everyone, but that should not come as a surprise. I think those with mast cell disorders and/or major GI problems are most likely to be responders. 

As well as halting the cascade of anxiety towards self-injury, reducing allergy, it was reported that Verapamil made long term GI symptoms vanish.

In your pancreas β-cells make insulin. These β-cells have Cav1.2 calcium channels. In people with type-1 diabetes their β-cells have died so their pancreas produces no insulin. In people with the increasingly common type-2 diabetes, they start out with enough insulin but their body has a reduced sensitivity to it; often as they age their β-cells begin to die, at which point they start having to inject insulin like a type-1 diabetic. We saw that by blocking Cav1.2 you can stop these β-cells from dying. This means that a person with type-2 diabetes should take Verapamil to maintain their pancreas producing insulin.

Without wanting to go further into how the pancreas functions, I assumed that perhaps there were other Cav1.2 calcium channels involved in producing enzymes in the pancreas that might result in digestive problems in some people, that in turn produce symptoms of IBS.

I already highlighted in a post that Verapamil also affects an interesting potassium channel called Kv1.3. This channel is involved in the inflammatory response and this is the channel that TSO parasites use to trick their host into not attacking and expelling them.

It appears that Kv1.3 is over expressed in auto-immune diseases including MS. So inhibitors of this ion channel are potential treatments for MS. Add TSO parasites to that list of novel MS therapies!

Some venoms are Kv1.3 inhibitors and may form the basis of new drugs.

Since autism is in-part an auto-immune disease a Kv1.3 inhibitor could be therapeutic.
Verapamil does inhibit Kv1.3, but I do not know if it is to a therapeutic extent.  Most drugs have numerous effects but only one dominant one.

Melatonin MT1 and Serotonin 5-HT2b receptors

Today we learn that two further receptors are affected by Verapamil, one Melatonin and one Serotonin.

Melatonin, at high doses, we saw in an old post has potent beneficial effects on some GI conditions and trials showed it to be as effective as prescription drugs for those conditions. Melatonin is very cheap, but cannot be patented, so will not be researched seriously.

The two isomers of Verapamil

When you think of a chemical you may think of its formula, but it can be more complex, as you might have learnt in high school chemistry.

The two compounds below are both thalidomide. R-thalidomide is effective against  insomnia and morning sickness, but the mirror image called L-thalidomide can cause birth defects.

This was discovered too late, for many people.

Many drugs are a mixture of Right and Left, confusingly they like to also call Left “S”. In Latin sinister is the adjective left and dexter is the adjective for right.

Recall Arbaclofen (R-Baclofen) ? I am sure Roche does, a $40 million bet that did not pay off.

Now we have R-Verapamil.

Pharmacology of R-Verapamil: A Novel Therapy in IBS
John Devane, Mary Martin, John Kelly

Racemic verapamil, primarily a cardiovascular agent, has been widely used off-label in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Initial observations of its usefulness followed recognition of a high incidence of constipation with use in cardiovascular conditions. The enantiomers of verapamil are known to differ in cardiovascular potency, the S-isomer being much more potent than the R-isomer. In addition we found the S-isomer to be equiactive in relaxing vascular and colonic smooth muscle but the R-isomer to be 5-times more potent in relaxing colonic than vascular muscle. This selectivity led us to develop R-verapamil (Rezular) as a gut selective treatment in IBS and we have shown doses from 60mg/day to 240mg/day to greatly improve symptoms in non-constipation IBS patients. To better understand the mechanism by which R- verapamil improved the symptoms of IBS, we undertook an in-vitro screen of binding of R-verapamil to 147 receptors/receptor sub-types. Specific ligand binding was initially assessed using 10x-5 M verapamil and if there was greater than 50% inhibition of control specific binding, then binding at 8 different concentrations was tested andIC50 values (concentrationfor half-maximalinhibition of controlspecific binding (x10 -7M)) calculated. The therapeutic plasma concentration range of free R-verapamil was conservatively set at 0.1-3x10-7 M. Within this range R-verapamil showed affinity for 3 receptors: melatonin (MT1)(IC50 0.6), 5-HT2b (IC50 1.1) and L-type calcium channel (IC50 2.4). In addition compared with S-verapamil, R-verapamil showed stereoselectivity x40)for MT1 binding, whereas S-verapamil showed stereo selectivity (x3) for L-type calcium channel binding. R-Verapamil was selective for 5-HT2b relative to other 5-HT receptor sub types and affinity was low for 5-HT3(IC 50 3,400) or 5-HT4(>100) receptors.It was also highly selective for MT1(IC50 0.6) versus MT2 (IC50 >100) receptors. We conclude that R verapamil most likely exerts its therapeutic effects in IBS via a previously unrecognized mechanism involving combined effects at melatonin receptors, serotonin receptors and L type calcium channels


"In May 2009, Rezular (arverapamil) failed in Phase III development, where it underwent extensive evaluation in the ARDIS clinical trial programme in patients with IBS-D.

Phase III trials were taken up with patients already receiving treatment in the ARDIS-1 trial. In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group the efficacy and safety of Rezular (arverapamil) was assessed in about 1,200 patients.

Three doses of Rezular (arverapamil) were compared with placebo over a 12-week treatment period.

In September 2009, AGI announced that it plans to consider alternative uses of Rezular. The company believes that Rezular can prove effective in treating diarrhoea and non-diarrhoea related problems.

IBS is a common, but until recently poorly understood, disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is described as a functional disorder of the GI tract, in which there is no obvious underlying pathology.

IBS has proved notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. Until recently no drugs were specifically indicated for the treatment of IBS. Instead, patients would often seek over-the-counter (OTC) remedies to treat constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating associated with IBS.
AGI Therapeutics, Rezular (arverapamil) is a single enantiomer moiety of racemic verapamil, a cardiovascular drug that has been in clinical use for 35 years.

However, in contrast to currently available commercial forms of racemic verapamil (a mixture of two enantiomers), arverapamil shows preferential activity in treating the symptoms of IBS-D without the traditional cardiovascular actions of the racemic drug. It combines affinity at L-type calcium channels with 5-HT2b and melatonin (MT1) receptor binding.

Gut function is controlled by both the enteric (intestinal) nervous system (ENS) and CNS, in which the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) plays a fundamental role. Serotonin is present in large amounts in the ENS where it is involved in sensory, motor and secretory processes within the gut. It modulates gut motility and the perception of pain and also mediates intestinal secretion. Minor disturbances in serotonergic function can lead to symptoms of IBS described above."

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common comorbidity of autism.

According to the Mayo Clinic:-


IBS is a chronic condition that you'll need to manage long term.
Only a small number of people with IBS have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle and stress. More-severe symptoms can be treated with medication”

The precise cause of IBS isn't known. Factors that appear to play a role include:
·       Muscle contractions in the intestine. The walls of the intestines are lined with layers of muscle that contract as they move food through your digestive tract. Contractions that are stronger and last longer than normal can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. Weak intestinal contractions can slow food passage and lead to hard, dry stools.
  • Nervous system. Abnormalities in the nerves in your digestive system may cause you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas or stool. Poorly coordinated signals between the brain and the intestines can cause your body to overreact to changes that normally occur in the digestive process, resulting in pain, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Inflammation in the intestines. Some people with IBS have an increased number of immune-system cells in their intestines. This immune-system response is associated with pain and diarrhea.
  • Severe infection. IBS can develop after a severe bout of diarrhea (gastroenteritis) caused by bacteria or a virus. IBS might also be associated with a surplus of bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth).
  • Changes in bacteria in the gut (microflora). Microflora are the "good" bacteria that reside in the intestines and play a key role in health. Research indicates that microflora in people with IBS might differ from microflora in healthy people.

Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by:
  • Food. The role of food allergy or intolerance in IBS isn't fully understood. A true food allergy rarely causes IBS. But many people have worse IBS symptoms when they eat or drink certain foods or beverages, including wheat, dairy products, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage, milk and carbonated drinks.
  • Stress. Most people with IBS experience worse or more frequent signs and symptoms during periods of increased stress. But while stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn't cause them.
  • Hormones. Women are twice as likely to have IBS, which might indicate that hormonal changes play a role. Many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.
Research shows that some people with IBS report improvement in diarrhea symptoms if they stop eating gluten (wheat, barley and rye) even if they don't have celiac disease.

Rezular – Patent for Oral Treatment for IBS


I guess we may never know why some people’s IBS responds to Verapamil. It is likely because of one of the following:-

The experts suggested:-
     ·      Cav1.2
·      Melatonin MT1
·      Serotonin 5-HT2b

I earlier proposed (in addition to Cav1.2)

  •   ·      Kv1.3

R-Verapamil failed in its trial for IBS-D (IBS that causes increased diarrhoea is often called IBS-D).

But Verapamil clearly does help some types of IBS, you would just have to try it. I did try it on myself and it worked for me.

This post again shows the limitations of clinical trials, because we actually do know Verapamil does resolves the GI problems of some people.

Perhaps they got it all wrong and should have trialed S-Verapamil, or indeed just the regular mixture of Verapamil. They did not do the latter because how do you patent/make money out of an existing ultra-cheap generic drug? One pack costs $1.

It looks strange to me that people with Type-2 diabetes are not prescribed Verapamil, it might save a lot of insulin injections later in their lives. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Combatting Brain Calcification in Some Autism (and Bipolar and Schizophrenia) and Osteoprotegerin (OPG) as a potential biomarker, implicating Cav1.2

In today’s post there is more supposition than normal, but plenty of anecdotal evidence.  It follows on from the previous post that suggested calcification might be an issue in some types of autism.  As we know, many unrelated biological dysfunctions can lead to autism, but there do seem to be some commonly affected pathways.

This subject is definitely worthy of much more detailed study than my post, which is based on an initial review of the science.  Some leading researchers, like Persico and Courchesne are fully aware of the issue.  I am not sure who would undertake such a study.  There is no physician specialty dedicated solely to osteoporosis, so we are lacking experts.  The bone-vascular axis is worthy of more study, as much for heart disease as autism.

A variety of medical specialists treat people with osteoporosis, including internists, gynecologists, family physicians, endocrinologists, rheumatologists, physiatrists, orthopaedists, and geriatricians.  If you do not know what a physiatrist is, I also had to look it up.  Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians, also known as physiatrists, treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.


There is more support for the potential use of calcium channel blockers that affect Cav1.2, via its effect on calcification by modulating Osteoprotegerin (OPG).  OPG is known to be elevated in autism and its two older brothers schizophrenia and bipolar.

It appears that in some people with severe brain calcification, that shows up on CT scans, biphosphanate drugs can be helpful, but do not actually shrink the calcification, perhaps they stop it growing.

Biphosphanate drugs used to treat osteoporosis are not without side effects in some people.

Some people have disturbed calcium homeostasis as a result of drugs they are taking, for example antiepileptic drugs.

So-called “chelation” using powerful intravenous antioxidants has been shown in the TACT clinical trial to reduce future heart problems, but only in people with diabetes. Diabetics are known to have disturbed calcium homeostasis leading to calcification, heart disease and osteoporosis.

In some counties intravenous antioxidants have long been given to people with diabetes to treat its main side effects but not to clear calcification.  In those countries this is seen as perfectly safe and routine. Preventative care for diabetics is actually rather poor in the UK and US.

Vitamin K plays a key role in calcium homeostasis and in some people just giving large amounts of this vitamin has the required therapeutic effect.  Unless given alongside blood thinning drugs, it is claimed that high dose Vitamin K does not have side effects.

Perhaps the most common osteoporosis therapy, calcium plus vitamin D is shown in some trials to be of no value whatsoever.  This therapy would most likely be ill advised in autism.

Osteoprotegerin (OPG)

Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a cytokine involved in calcification and inflammation.

Osteoprotegerin has been used experimentally to decrease bone resorption in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.
 It has been particularly related to the increase in cardiovascular risk in patients suffering from diabetes

Interestingly it has been shown that the L type calcium channel Cav1.2 regulates Osteoprotegerin (OPG) expression and secretion.
A NASA space shuttle flight in 2001 tested the effects of osteoprotegerin on mice in microgravity, finding that it did prevent increase in resorption and maintained bone mineralization.  Space flight is not good for your bones.

Osteoprotegerin levels are elevated in people with bipolar and schizophrenia.

Osteoprotegerin levels in patients with severe mental disorders

Severe mental disorders are associated with elevated levels of inflammatory markers. In the present study, we investigated whether osteoprotegerin (OPG), a member of the tumour necrosis factor receptor family involved in calcification and inflammation, is elevated in patients with severe mental disorders.


We measured the plasma levels of OPG in patients with severe mental disorders (n = 312; 125 with bipolar disorder and 187 with schizophrenia) and healthy volunteers (n = 239).

The mean plasma levels of OPG were significantly higher in patients than in controls (t531 = 2.6, p = 0.01), with the same pattern in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The increase was significant after adjustment for possible confounding variables, including age, sex, ethnic background, alcohol consumption, liver and kidney function, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and levels of cholesterol, glucose and C-reactive protein.


Our results indicate that elevated OPG levels are associated with severe mental disorders and suggest that mechanisms related to calcification and inflammation may play a role in disease development.

As shown in the study below, many inflammatory cytokines are elevated in autism, just look at those insulin-like growth factor binding proteins.  Osteoprotegerin is a modest 500% of what it might be expected to be in non autism.


Because of the continuing non-debate in scientific terms about vaccines and autism, it is unlikely that there will ever be any study about calcium chelation and autism.  Rather than admit that in a small number of cases vaccination may trigger mitochondrial disease and result in autism, there is complete denial, at least in public. In private it is an open secret.

The planned chelation trial in autism was banned, on “safety grounds”.

It looks to me that the enemy is not mercury or other heavy metals, the problem is much less exotic. 

Oxidative Stress
Most people with autism have oxidative stress, which should be improved by any potent antioxidant.  Agents used to chelate metals have to be potent antioxidants.

In some yet to be determined percentage of people they potentially have disturbed calcium homeostasis resulting in some calcium deposits in the brain.  Those chelating to remove, most likely non-existing, “toxins” may sometimes be reducing harmful calcification.

Fortunately there has been a very large study, called TACT, on de-calcification (calcium chelation) in Coronary Heart Disease.

One large group of people at risk from low bone density are those with diabetes.

Patients with diabetes, who made up approximately one third of the 1,708 TACT participants, had a 41 percent overall reduction in the risk of any cardiovascular event; a 40 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease, nonfatal stroke, or nonfatal heart attack; a 52 percent reduction in recurrent heart attacks; and a 43 percent reduction in death from any cause.


Chelation for Coronary Heart Disease

§  Patients with diabetes, who made up approximately one third of the 1,708 TACT participants, had a 41 percent overall reduction in the risk of any cardiovascular event; a 40 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease, nonfatal stroke, or nonfatal heart attack; a 52 percent reduction in recurrent heart attacks; and a 43 percent reduction in death from any cause. In contrast, there was no significant benefit of EDTA treatment in participants who didn't have diabetes.

From the Mayo Clinic:-

          Results of trial to assess chelation therapy (TACT) study presented

 A further review from TACT just looking at patients with diabetes:- 

The Effect of an EDTA-based Chelation Regimen on Patients with Diabetes and Prior Myocardial Infarction in TACT

Patients with diabetes:-

Patients without diabetes (no benefit over placebo):-


The 10 component 500 mL intravenous solution in TACT consisted of 3 g of disodium EDTA, adjusted downward based on estimated glomerular filtration rate; 7 g of ascorbic acid; 2 g of magnesium chloride; B-vitamins, and other components (eTable 4). The placebo solution consisted of 500 mL of normal saline and 1.2% dextrose (2.5 g total). The solution was infused over at least 3 hours through a peripheral intravenous line weekly for 30 weeks and then biweekly to bimonthly to complete 40 infusions.


The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT) showed clinical benefit of an ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA-based) infusion regimen in patients 50 years or older with prior myocardial infarction (MI). Diabetes prior to enrollment was a pre-specified subgroup.

Methods and Results

Patients received 40 infusions of EDTA chelation or placebo. 633 (37%) had diabetes (322 EDTA, 311 placebo). EDTA reduced the primary endpoint (death, reinfarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for angina) [25% vs 38%, hazard ratio (HR) 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.44, 0.79), p<0.001] over 5 years. The result remained significant after Bonferroni adjustment for multiple subgroups (99.4% CI (0.39, 0.88), adjusted p=0.002). All-cause mortality was reduced by EDTA chelation [10% vs 16%, HR 0.57, 95% CI (0.36, 0.88) p=0.011], as was the secondary endpoint (cardiovascular death, reinfarction, or stroke) [11% vs 17% HR 0.60, 95% CI (0.39, 0.91), p=0.017]. After adjusting for multiple subgroups, however, those results were no longer significant. The number needed to treat to reduce one primary endpoint was 6.5 over 5 years (95% CI (4.4, 12.7). There was no reduction in events in non-diabetics (n=1075, p=0.877), resulting in a treatment by diabetes interaction (p=0.004).


Post-MI diabetic patients age 50 or older demonstrated a marked reduction in cardiovascular events with EDTA chelation. These findings support efforts to replicate these findings and define the mechanisms of benefit. They do not, however, constitute sufficient evidence to indicate the routine use of chelation therapy for all post-MI diabetic patients.

Effect of the Polypill on Calcification

Oral antioxidants like NAC and Alpha lipoic Acid given daily will have both a direct and indirect “chelating” effect.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Promotes Osteoblastic Formation in H2O2 -Treated MC3T3-E1 Cells and Prevents Bone Lossin Ovariectomized Rats.


Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a naturally occurring compound and dietary supplement, has been established as a potent antioxidant that is a strong scavenger of free radicals. Recently, accumulating evidences has indicated the relationship between oxidative stress and osteoporosis (OP). Some studies have investigated the possible beneficial effects of ALA on OP both in vivo and in vitro; however, the precise mechanism(s) underlying the bone-protective action of ALA remains unclear. Considering this, we focused on the anti-oxidative capacity of ALA to exert bone-protective effects in vitro and in vivo. In the present study, the effects of ALA on osteoblastic formation in H(2)O(2) -treated MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblasts and ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss in rats were investigated. The results showed that ALA promoted osteoblast differentiation, mineralization and maturation and inhibited osteoblast apoptosis, thus increasing the OPG/receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL) ratio and leading to enhanced bone formation in vitro and inhibited bone loss in vivo. Further study revealed that ALA exerted its bone-protective effects by inhibiting reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation by down-regulating Nox4 gene expression and protein synthesis and attenuating the transcriptional activation of NF-κB. In addition, ALA might exert its bone-protective effects by activating the Wnt/Lrp5/β-catenin signaling pathway. Taken together, the present study indicated that ALA promoted osteoblastic formation in H(2)O(2) -treated MC3T3-E1 cells and prevented OVX-induced bone loss in rats by regulating Nox4/ROS/NF-κB and Wnt/Lrp5/β-catenin signaling pathways, which provided possible mechanisms of bone-protective effects in regulating osteoblastic formation and preventing bone loss. Taken together, the results suggest that ALA may be a candidate for clinical OP treatment.

Statins are known to promote bone health.

Statins and osteoporosis:new role for old drugs.

Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease, affecting millions of people worldwide and leading to significant morbidity and high expenditure. Most of the current therapies available for its treatment are limited to the prevention or slowing down of bone loss rather than enhancing bone formation. Recent discovery of statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) as bone anabolic agents has spurred a great deal of interest among both basic and clinical bone researchers. In-vitro and some animal studies suggest that statins increase the bone mass by enhancing bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)-mediated osteoblast expression. Although a limited number of case-control studies suggest that statins may have the potential to reduce the risk of fractures by increasing bone formation, other studies have failed to show a benefit in fracture reduction. Randomized, controlled clinical trials are needed to resolve this conflict. One possible reason for the discrepancy in the results of preclinical, as well as clinical, studies is the liver-specific nature of statins. Considering their high liver specificity and low oral bioavailability, distribution of statins to the bone microenvironment in optimum concentration is questionable. To unravel their exact mechanism and confirm beneficial action on bone, statins should reach the bone microenvironment in optimum concentration. Dose optimization and use of novel controlled drug delivery systems may help in increasing the bioavailability and distribution of statins to the bone microenvironment. Discovery of bone-specific statins or their bone-targeted delivery offers great potential in the treatment of osteoporosis. In this review, we have summarized various preclinical and clinical studies of statins and their action on bone. We have also discussed the possible mechanism of action of statins on bone. Finally, the role of drug delivery systems in confirming and assessing the actual potential of statins as anti-osteoporotic agents is highlighted.

Verapamil via the effect on OPG should have positive effect on bones and reduce vascular calcification.

Use of Biphosphanate Drugs to Treat Brain Calcification

Brain calcification might be associated with various metabolic, infectious or vascular conditions. Clinically, brain calcification can include symptoms such as migraine, Parkinsonism, psychosis or dementia. The term Primary Brain Calcification was recently used for those patients without an obvious cause (formerly idiopathic) while Primary Familial Brain Calcifications was left for the cases with autosomal dominant inheritance. Recent studies found mutations in four genes (SLC20A2,PDGFRB, PDGFB and XPR1). However, these genes represent only 60% of all familial cases suggesting other genes remain to be elucidated. Studies evaluating treatments for such a devastating disease are scattered, usually appearing as single case reports. In the present study, we describe a case series of 7 patients treated with Alendronate, a widely prescribed biphosphanate. We observed good
tolerance and evidence of improvements and stability by some patients. No side effects were reported and no specific symptoms related to medication. Younger patients and one individual continuing a prescription (prior to study commencement) appeared to respond more positively with some referred improvements in symptoms. Biphosphanates may represent an excellent prospect for the treatment of brain calcifications due to their being well tolerated and easily available. Conversely, prospective and controlled studies should promptly address weaknesses found in the present analysis.

Patient 3. A 43-year-old man, one of seven children born to the same mother (described below as Patient 4), presented with rapid progression of parkinsonism. In the last 5 years, a progressive presentation of general bradykinesia, rigidity, and paresis in the right arm had developed. He had previously been an active individual with regular employment. Prior to recruitment, this patient had been on carbidopa/levodopa, which was continued throughout the duration of the present study. Genetic screening identified a SLC20A2 mutation (c.1483 G > A)3, and the patient was placed on alendronate therapy.

Patient 4. This 84-year-old woman presented with mild depression, late-stage parkinsonism, and large calcifications (10.85 cm3) in the basal ganglia and cerebellum. She is the mother of Patient 3 and carries the same SLC20A2 mutation. This patient had been taking alendronate for 10 years due to a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Intriguingly, she presented with fewer symptoms than her son, despite being 41 years old older.

We chose alendronate due to its availability, safety, and comfortable dosing schedule (oral administration, once a week). Etidronate probably works via a different mechanism (bulk action binding to hydroxyapatite) than
the newer amino bisphosphonate alendronate (inhibition of osteoclasts). This might explain why the effects seen in our series were less dramatic than those seen in patients treated with etidronate. Thus, while alendronate has a more convenient dosing schedule and, possibly, fewer side effects, a larger clinical trial should consider the choice of bisphosphonate carefully.

To date, there is no specific treatment for primary brain calcification; the main goal is symptom management.

Clinicians should make sure that the idiopathic/primary profile is accurately defined to rule out any underlying organic cause, e.g., in non-idiopathic basal ganglia calcification caused by abnormal calcium regulation, such as in primary endocrine disorders.

Bisphosphonates represent the only effective (although still anecdotal) treatment that could have wider applications in basal ganglia calcification. Prospective, controlled studies should be conducted to address the weaknesses of the present manuscript and establish a definitive analysis of bisphosphonate therapy for primary brain calcification. Furthermore, the excellent tolerability profile of alendronate in primary brain calcifications suggests that a trial in asymptomatic patients could help address the potential benefit of this strategy to control symptoms in younger patients.


Bisphosphonates may be applicable, safe and change the natural progression of primary brain calcifications, especially in younger patients and across prolonged periods. Nevertheless, future studies with adequate design should answer remaining questions.

Metabolic Bone Diseases

There are numerous things that can affect the bone-vascular axis including various  metabolic diseases.  This is rather beyond the scope of an autism blog, but if you are interested here is a link.

Imaging Findings and Evaluation of Metabolic Bone Disease


Unless you have evidence of osteoporosis, or a brain scan showing calcification, it might be rather extreme to take a biphosphanate drug like Fosamax.

If you already take oral NAC , ALA or L-carnitine you have a pretty potent therapy which would target any calcification, if indeed it existed.  Intravenous ALA, as used my Monty’s Grandad for years, should be even more effective as it is for diabetic neuropathy.

Those using verapamil appear to have another layer of protection against calcification. I did suggest to Agnieszka that elevated OMG might indeed be the biomarker needed for the use of verapamil in Autism. Remember to contact her to participate in her study.

Verapamil use in Autism – Request for Case Reports from Parents

Vitamin K2 is claimed to be extremely safe unless you are taking a blood thinning drug like Warfarin, that are Vitamin K antagonists.

Some studies claim great results from K2, while some others are more mixed.  It is likely that depending on what underlying dysfunction exists, high dose K2 may help or do nothing.  It is clear that low amounts of K2 are damaging.

So K2 would seem worthwhile trialing.  It is found in the not so pleasant tasting Natto.  Vitamin K (more K1 than K2) is found in broad-leafed vegetables.  The excellent Linus Pauling Institute reviewed all the vitamin K evidence and concluded people should:-

 “eat at least one cup of dark green leafy vegetables daily”

This brings me back to where I started the previous post with the Mediterranean diet, rich in dark green leafy vegetables.

Intravenous infusion of antioxidants looks like a very good idea for people with diabetes.  Where we live this has been standard practice for years, where Monty’s grandad goes twice a year for 10 days of ALA infusion, the rest of the year he is prescribed oral ALA.  This is given to control diabetic neuropathy, but clearly a side effect is that it will reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.

I have no doubt IV infusion of ALA would be beneficial for some with autism, but I think they might get sufficient benefit from oral ALA or indeed NAC.

I wish the FDA would permit the “chelation” autism trial in the US, I have no doubt it would show a positive effect, but not for the reasons put forward by DAN doctors and the chelation cults. 

The TACT chelation trial in older people showed that the therapy was very well tolerated.  IV ALA therapy is also well tolerated.

Public health officials should not fear the truth.  In the long run the truth is the best policy and when given all the facts the public are not stupid.  If vaccination is in the interest of their child, enough parents will happily cooperate. The Herd Immunity Threshold (HIT) is the percentage of people who need to be vaccinated.  HIT is 95% for measles.  Therapies used at Johns Hopkins exist to minimize the possible damaging effect on mitochondria and never give paracetamol/acetaminophen to children after a vaccination.