Vaccines have been in the news quite a bit recently, with the FDA approving a cervical cancer vaccine and now there are reports of promising news on an Alzheimer's Vaccine. Here's a bit from the AP article:

An experimental vaccine is showing promise against Alzheimer's disease, reducing brain deposits that are blamed for the disorder.

The deposits have been cut by between 15.5 percent and 38.5 percent in mice, with no major side effects, researchers said Monday in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tests of the DNA-based vaccine are under way in monkeys, and if those are successful, testing in people could begin, perhaps within three years, said lead researcher Yoh Matsumoto of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience in Japan.

If all goes well, it looks like we might see this vaccine being used in 5-7 years.

It's hard to imagine being in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's shoes back in 1721 when she experimented by deliberately infecting people with a mild form of smallpox. How scary must that have been to infect her own children, even if she was trying to protect them? And while this was one of the first recorded practices of innoculation, many people died from the smallpox they'd been given. Thankfully, Edward Jenner realized a connection between cowpox (which was not as severe) and smallpox. This was the birth of modern vaccination.

But I was surprised to learn that it wasn't even close to the first time inoculation was attempted. Apparently as early as 200 B.C. The Chinese experimented by taking dried abscesses from a person suffering from a mild case of smallpox, they'd grind them into a powder and put the powder in others' noses to immunize them. Even if it didn't work all that well, they were still thinking far ahead of their time.