Jul 6, 2011

Of Mice and Max

In additional to my work in the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Lab at Boston University’s School of Medicine and thesis requirement, I will be taking 4 additional courses at Boston University

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Max Wallack
I know I haven’t written much for the Alzheimer’s Reading Room lately. I can say my time is being well-spent.

This summer I am volunteering, full-time, in the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Lab at Boston University’s School of Medicine.

So far, I have been being instructed in various important techniques on how to test for biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Over the next few weeks, I will begin working with a colony of mice, looking for these biomarkers. Later, I will perform tests to see if injecting these mice with certain inhibitors can translate to a reduction in diseased brain material. If that works, then we can begin thinking about using similar inhibitors for human patients.

The people I have been working with are brilliant, friendly, and they treat me as an equal, which is amazing since many have both Ph.D.’s and M.D.’s. I enjoy my work so much that I was very disappointed to have the day off today for July 4th!

Meanwhile, I used this weekend to pack up ALL the puzzles I had in my garage. This week shipments of puzzles will be sent to 35 Alzheimer’s care facilities across the country. It is the first time in about three years that my garage is devoid of puzzles. Puzzles from Puzzles to Remember are now available in 800 Alzheimer's care facilities. 7,422 puzzles shipped.

I don’t think my garage will be empty for very long. Philips Corporation, based in Andover MA, has decided that they will collect puzzles on behalf of PuzzlesToRemember. Meanwhile, employees at American Express have decided to make small contributions to help with shipping.

When work is so fulfilling, a person doesn’t really need vacation. However, I am looking forward to vacationing in Los Angeles, and I’ll have the opportunity to work with kids from Los Angeles inner city schools and help them initiate their own community service projects.

I’m happy that my work in the Pharmacology lab will not end when my classes begin this fall. I will continue to work there at least one full day at week, plus additional time whenever possible. I will also be writing a senior thesis about my research.

This fall will be very busy for me. In additional to my work in the Pharmacology lab and thesis requirement, I will be taking four additional courses at Boston University.

I’m also sneaking in some time biking and swimming with friends and, of course, keeping up my contacts with my friends and mentors.

Lastly, I want to share with you my appreciation for the fact that Carole Larkin, Bob DeMarco, and Emma Richman spent long hours guiding me toward where I need to be to be able to make a difference.

Editor Note: For those of you that are new to ARR, Max Wallack is 15 years old.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room