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Alzheimer’s disease – Part 1

Why do we age? No one knows, what causes the human clock to wind down.

Scientists have long been probing into the mechanisms behind how organisms in petri dishes age and die. These actually hold the clue to what’s going on in the human being. Our own life sustaining mechanisms that are intricate and interlocking, involve the very molecules that make up our bodies.

Today I want to talk about Alzheimer disease, as one of my relatives suffers from it . This is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him. As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. The patient tends to remember earlier memories but not things which just happened 5 minutes ago.

Current Alzheimer’s disease medications and management strategies can temporarily improve symptoms, maximize function and maintain independence. It’s also important to seek social services and tap into your support network to make life better. Research efforts aim to discover treatments that prevent Alzheimer’s or slow its progression. So far, the product that I know of, that offers good results is called Aricept (donepezil). My relative is on it, with good results. All medications at best, slow down the degeneration of the disease. It cannot cure it.

If you want to get more technical, one of the ways to identify Alzheimer’s disease is by autopsying the brain after death — but scientists may now have an easier way to spot the degenerative brain disease long before that, even before symptoms appear, using brain scans.

People who go on to develop symptoms of memory loss and cognitive deficits are more likely to show shrinkage in certain areas of the brain early on, compared with those who don’t develop Alzheimer’s, and such changes can be seen in MRI scans of the brain.

The region affected is normally the cortex of the brain, and you will see a lot of amyloid plaque deposits and disintegration of nerve networks. These are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. By studying people’s brain scans over time, you can actually pick up how some people eventually go on to develop Alzheimer’s, but it does take many years for this structural difference to show up as symptoms of memory loss or cognitive problems.

 

Stay tuned – 10 Easy Ways to Catch early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease..

 

If you like this post, read our Series on Alzheimer’s :

Alzheimer’s Disease: Why do we Age?  – Part 1

10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 2

Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease – Part 3

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