New Findings on the causes and treatment of Alzheimer’s:

alzheimer disease

Alzheimer's is a neurological disorder which affects the brain cells causing problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. It is a common type of dementia which is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person's ability to carry out daily activities. Usually, Alzheimer disease starts slowly and the progression of which is very rapid leading the individual seriously disabled. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as one gets older. Risk of AD in individuals are also higher if they have a family history of the disease. Current Alzheimer’s treatments focuses only on temporarily slowing the aggravation of the symptoms for dementia in-turn improving the quality of life for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. But these treatments may not help increasing the progression of Alzheimer’s. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder. The causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Two abnormal structures called plaques and tangles are prime suspects in damaging and killing nerve cells:

  • Plaques are deposits of a protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build up in the spaces between nerve cells.
  • Tangles are twisted fibers of another protein called tau (rhymes with “wow”) that build-up inside cells.

Though most people develop some plaques and tangles as they age, those with Alzheimer's tend to develop far more. They are predicted to play a critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells and disrupting processes that cells need to survive. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body. Current approaches focus on helping people maintain mental function, manage behavioural symptoms, and slow or delay the symptoms of disease.

Maintaining Mental Function

Several Medications which work by regulating neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons have a greater impact on the mental function by helping to maintain thinking, memory, and communication skills, and with certain behavioural problems.However, these drugs don’t change the underlying disease process. They are effective for some but not all people, and may help only for a limited time.

Managing Behaviour

Alzheimer’s disease involves in various behavioural changes which includes anxiety, aggression etc. The underlying reasons behind these behavioural changes are being studied by the scientists therefore leading to the better management of these symptoms. Therefore contributing to the greater impact on the serenity of the individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and also to their caregivers.

Recent clinical trials involves in testing several possible interventions addressing underlying disease processes. Aducanumab, a new antibody has been shown to trigger a meaningful reduction of harmful beta-amyloid plaques in patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists believe Alzheimer's disease prevents parts of a cell's factory from running well. They are not sure where the trouble starts. But when the damage starts spreading, it causes irreversible changes in the brain.

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