Alzheimer’s Drug: The Dark Underbelly

By Danny Tyree

According to the Vancouver Sun, researchers at Baylor University may have good news for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative mental illnesses. They’ve isolated a gene in mice that works to give them “super memories.”

The scientists knew they were onto something when the mice began to solve memory problems on their first try, instead of taking days like the control group. Unfortunately, one mouse was overheard whispering, “We gotta slow this down. Somebody call cousin Mickey and see how we can UNIONIZE.”

Drug companies interested in developing a drug based on the Baylor research can truly empathize with the plight of patients. (“We’ve personally seen the devastating effect of memory impairment: getting lost on a familiar senator’s street, forgetting the names of lobbyists and other loved ones, forgetting to charge Americans a gazillion times what we charge Canadians for the medicine…”)

Certainly a memory drug for humans would be a boon to Alzheimer’s patients and their families. I can even understand the desire of merely absent-minded people to have the drug freely available (my brain doesn’t just play TRICKS on me — it ensnares me in whole elaborate Ponzi schemes), but I fear the societal repercussions if reasonably healthy individuals begin using the pills with abandon.

For one thing, the court system would be clogged as lawyers for the manufacturers of Post-It Notes and string (for tying around fingers) sought to block the pills. And what self-respecting politician would want constituents with crystal clear memories of campaign promises? (“My esteemed colleagues, I say we really do need more funding for schools, if the voters are so uneducated that they don’t understand that ‘I will never take tropical vacations on the public dime’ is just a literary metaphor for…”)

Friendships will suffer under a wave of super memory. (“Hey, remember the one where Marcia Brady…?” “Yes, I remember every stinking line and every stinking costume…and, before you ask, yes, I remember every square foot of the Alamo and Pearl Harbor, and I remember where I put my pistol, you loathsome…”)

Ever have a song stuck in your head? You could have a whole iPod of memories in your head by abusing the pill. (“That was Offenbach’s Orpheus In The Underworld. Before that, it was Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. Here comes Billy and Suzie sittin’ in a tree…K-I-S-S-I-N-G…”)

Widespread use of the pill could trigger some embarrassing international incidents. (“I can remember why I entered the room. I can remember where I put my car keys. And now I can remember that Kim Jong-il was a right (expletive deleted) of a dictator. I just wish I could forget all that TV footage of me crying my eyes out over his death!”)

Law enforcement could become way too simple with forced use of the drug. (“Oh, THOSE underage boys in the shower! I swear, I’d forget my head if it wasn’t bolted on…”)

And of course the medicine wouldn’t be a cure-all; it wouldn’t necessarily bring decisive action on things that tend to be neglected. Researchers might have to go back to their rodent test subjects and come up with the “Actually GIVES a rat’s rump about his wife’s birthday, those borrowed tools, those art guild tickets or leaving the toilet seat down” pill.

Danny Tyree
Latest posts by Danny Tyree (see all)