Beta Amyloid Plaques Found In The Brains Of Young Adults
A new study lead by Changiz Geula, a research professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, found evidence of Alzheimers disease in the brains of deceased adults as young as 20 years old. The research team analyzed the brains of 13 people between the ages of 20-66 with no health issues, 14 people without dementia between the ages of 70-99, and 21 brains of people with Alzheimers between the ages of 60-95. They observed that toxic amyloid buildup was evident irrelevant of age and health.
Amyloid buildup is a hallmark of Alzheimers, which is commonly found in the brains of seniors who have the disease. Amyloid is bad, said Geula. We dont know the exact mechanism by which it causes damage, or if amyloid buildup is the main trigger for Alzheimers, so we cant say that it actually causes the disease. But for a long time we have known that it causes toxic damage, and it cannot be good for you when it accumulates.
He went on to say that to find the accumulation of amyloid inside nerve cells of individuals as young as 20 was very surprising.
Life As A Caregiver: My Husband Is A Different Man Now
People dont understand the magnitude of work and care that it takes to care for someone with Alzheimer’s. Its justendless. Quality sleep isnt even an option for me. If I get five hours of intermittent sleep a night, I am doing really good.
We often use dark humor to cope with difficult stuff in our family. For example, one of the big jokes in my house is about how I have some-timers because sometimes I remember things and sometimes I dont. Thats how it is for caregivers. Were under so much stress and we have so many responsibilities, it can be hard to think straight sometimes.
But just when you think you’re at your wits end and you cant do anymore, you somehow dig a little deeper and pray that God gives you a little more strength to deal with it and push forward. Some days Im still a wife, but most days, Im a caregiver. Ive lost the man that I married. Hes another man now, and I still love him, but its so different. I just keep trying to be the best wife and mother I can be.
What Are The Symptoms Of Younger Onset Dementia
The symptoms of dementia are similar no matter what age they start. They include:
- memory loss that interferes with daily life
- withdrawing from friends and family
- losing the ability to think clearly or make judgements
- language problems
- changes to behaviour
Many conditions can produce symptoms that are similar to dementia, such as vitamin and hormone deficiencies, depression, medication, infections and brain tumours.
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Young Onset Vs Early Stage
It’s important to know that term “young onset dementia” does not mean the early stage of dementia. While most people diagnosed with young onset dementia are likely experiencing mild symptoms that indicate they are in the early stage, “young onset” and “early stage” have different meanings. A 57-year-old living with young onset dementia could already be in the late stage, while a 80-year-old just diagnosed with dementia might be in the early stage.
It’s also important to note that young onset dementia encompasses all types of dementia. If a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease â the most common type of dementia âunder the age of 65, then that person can be said to have young onset Alzheimer’s disease. Likewise, if a person is diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia under 65, then that person has young onset frontotemporal dementia.
However, each person living with young onset dementia has their own preferred term to describe their dementia â ask them what they prefer!
Getting Connected To Services After Diagnosis
â said, âOh, this is great, we have a diagnosis, what do we do now? Is there a pill, orâ¦?â And this is when the doctor said: âNo, thereâs no pill, thereâs nothing that we can do at all,â and youâll have to basically âgo home, get your affairs in order because you will die from this.ââ â from Ontario. Mary Beth lives with young onset frontotemporal dementia.
Even after an accurate diagnosis is made, a younger person with dementia is still likely to face obstacles. These obstacles may start with being unable to get more information about dementia or find referral to dementia-focused programs and services in their community.
We know that many people living with dementia go on to live very fulfilling lives for quite some time. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge and training, some healthcare providers still seem to offer little hope or support for life after diagnosis.
However, even if their doctor is helpful and can suggest practical next steps, there is another significant obstacle for the person diagnosed with young onset dementia to overcome.
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Age And Immune Response In Ad
What seemed like a farfetched idea a few years ago is now a well established fact in AD: inflammatory and immune responses have a significant role in its development and progression. Several of the genetic loci associated with AD risk contain genes with known roles in inflammation, the complement system and the immune response in general . Pathway analyses of GWAS data have identified the immune response as important in AD, and an integrated network analysis of genome and transcriptome data identified the immune and microglia module as significant for AD and TYROBP as the driver gene for this module .
Microglial activation and monocyte/macrophage-mediated inflammatory responses are currently particularly interesting areas of research on AD. To evaluate the relationship between known AD risk loci, Chan et al. recently conducted a protein quantitative trait analysis in monocytes and showed that the NME8 risk allele influences protein tyrosine kinase 2 , the CD33 risk allele influences triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 and the TREM1 risk allele is associated with a decreased TREM1/TREM2 ratio. Interestingly, the authors also uncovered potential differences associated with age in the expression of genes in the TREM locus. TREM1 expression was found to increase with advancing age in younger but not in older individuals, and TREM1 variants were found to affect TREM2 expression in younger but not older people .
Diagnosis Of Dementia Due To Alzheimer’s Disease
- Obtaining a medical and family history from the individual, including psychiatric history and history of cognitive and behavioral changes.
- Asking a family member to provide input about changes in thinking skills and behavior.
- Conducting problem-solving, memory and other cognitive tests, as well as physical and neurologic examinations.
- Having the individual undergo blood tests and brain imaging to rule out other potential causes of dementia symptoms, such as a tumor or certain vitamin deficiencies.
- In some circumstances, using PET imaging of the brain to find out if the individual has high levels of beta-amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s normal levels would suggest Alzheimer’s is not the cause of dementia.
- In some circumstances, using lumbar puncture to determine the levels of beta-amyloid and certain types of tau in CSF normal levels would suggest Alzheimer’s is not the cause of dementia.
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Overview Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disease, just as coronary artery disease is a type of heart disease. It is also a degenerative disease, meaning that it becomes worse with time. Alzheimer’s disease is thought to begin 20 years or more before symptoms arise,- with changes in the brain that are unnoticeable to the person affected. Only after years of brain changes do individuals experience noticeable symptoms such as memory loss and language problems. Symptoms occur because nerve cells in parts of the brain involved in thinking, learning and memory have been damaged or destroyed. As the disease progresses, neurons in other parts of the brain are damaged or destroyed. Eventually, nerve cells in parts of the brain that enable a person to carry out basic bodily functions, such as walking and swallowing, are affected. Individuals become bed-bound and require around-the-clock care. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.
What Are The Causes Of Young
The causes of young-onset dementia are similar to the diseases that usually cause dementia in older people. However, some causes, such as frontotemporal dementia , are more common in younger people. Dementia in younger people often has different symptoms, even when its caused by the same diseases as in older people.There is more information about some common causes of dementia, and how they can affect younger people, below.
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by the build-up of tiny protein deposits in the brain. DLB is less common in younger people with dementia than in older people. Lewy bodies also cause Parkinsons disease and about one-third of people with Parkinsons eventually develop dementia.Symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies can include hallucinations and varying levels of alertness. People can also develop the features of Parkinsons disease .
What is dementia with Lewy bodies?
Find out more about dementia with Lewy bodies, diagnosis and how to treat it.
What Is Alzheimer Disease
Alzheimer disease, which affects some older people, is different from everyday forgetting. It is a condition that permanently affects the brain. Over time, the disease makes it harder to remember even basic stuff, like how to tie a shoe.
Eventually, the person may have trouble remembering the names and faces of family members or even who he or she is. This can be very sad for the person and his or her family.
It’s important to know that Alzheimer disease does not affect kids. It usually affects people over 65 years of age. Researchers have found medicines that seem to slow the disease down. And there’s hope that someday there will be a cure.
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Earlier Prevention And Intervention
Researchers plan to look at a larger number of seniors to determine if the ones with higher amyloid build up have a higher risk for Alzheimers or dementia. Because of the smaller sample size of this study, it was hard to determine how much variability there is among the general population. Some seniors in the study were found to have the same amount of amyloid buildup that was also seen in the brains of younger adults.
Dr. Yvette Sheline, professor of psychiatry, radiology and neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, noted that while it was interesting to see amyloid accumulation at an early age, the findings were based on a small handful of brain samples and that it was impossible to know if the younger adults would ultimately develop Alzheimers, or if beta-amyloid accumulation is a normal part of human physiology.
Taking into consideration the small sample size, other researchers believe the new findings may be instrumental in providing insight into the beginning of Alzheimers. Geula is hopeful that the findings of his team will lead to early intervention and a new way to treat the disease. He said:
The implication appears to be that if we want to prevent these clumps from forming when a person becomes old, we may need to intervene much earlier than we have thought, to try and get rid of amyloid very early in life.
What Are The Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimers disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimers disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain.
Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimers disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimersthose who have the late-onset varietysymptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimers begin between a persons 30s and mid-60s.
The first symptoms of Alzheimers vary from person to person. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimers disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimers disease. And some people may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
Alzheimers disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild , moderate, and severe .
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Brain Changes Associated With Alzheimer’s Disease
A healthy adult brain has about 100 billion neurons, each with long, branching extensions. These extensions enable individual neurons to form connections with other neurons. At such connections, called synapses, information flows in tiny bursts of chemicals that are released by one neuron and detected by another neuron. The brain contains about 100 trillion synapses. They allow signals to travel rapidly through the brain’s neuronal circuits, creating the cellular basis of memories, thoughts, sensations, emotions, movements and skills.
The accumulation of the protein fragment beta-amyloid outside neurons and the accumulation of an abnormal form of the protein tau inside neurons are two of several brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Plaques and smaller accumulations of beta-amyloid called oligomers may contribute to the damage and death of neurons by interfering with neuron-to-neuron communication at synapses. Tau tangles block the transport of nutrients and other essential molecules inside neurons. Although the complete sequence of events is unclear, beta-amyloid may begin accumulating before abnormal tau, and increasing beta-amyloid accumulation is associated with subsequent increases in tau.,
When Dementia Strikes At An Early Age
Dementia in a person in their 30s, 40s or 50s poses special challenges, starting with getting a diagnosis.
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Many people arent overly concerned when an octogenarian occasionally forgets the best route to a favorite store, cant remember a friends name or dents the car while trying to parallel park on a crowded city street. Even healthy brains work less efficiently with age, and memory, sensory perceptions and physical abilities become less reliable.
But what if the person is not in their 80s but in their 30s, 40s or 50s and forgets the way home from their own street corner? Thats far more concerning. While most of the 5.3 million Americans who are living with Alzheimers disease or other forms of dementia are over 65, some 200,000 are younger than 65 and develop serious memory and thinking problems far earlier in life than expected.
Young-onset dementia is a particularly disheartening diagnosis because it affects individuals in the prime years, Dr. David S. Knopman, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wrote in a . Many of the afflicted are in their 40s and 50s, midcareer, hardly ready to retire and perhaps still raising a family.
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What Causes Alzheimer Disease
Lots of research is being done to find out more about the causes of Alzheimer disease. There is no one reason why people get it. Older people are more likely to get it, and the risk increases the older the person gets. In other words, an 85-year-old is more likely to get it than a 65-year-old. And women are more likely to get it than men.
Researchers also think genes handed down from family members can make a person more likely to get Alzheimer disease. But that doesn’t mean everyone related to someone who has it will get the disease. Other things may make it more likely that someone will get the disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Down syndrome, or having a head injury.
On the positive side, researchers believe exercise, a healthy diet, and taking steps to keep your mind active may help delay the start of Alzheimer disease.
Treatment Of Alzheimer’s Dementia
2.5.1 Pharmacologic treatment
None of the pharmacologic treatments available today for Alzheimer’s dementia slow or stop the damage and destruction of neurons that cause Alzheimer’s symptoms and make the disease fatal. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved five drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s â rivastigmine, galantamine, donepezil, memantine, and memantine combined with donepezil. With the exception of memantine, these drugs temporarily improve cognitive symptoms by increasing the amount of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Memantine blocks certain receptors in the brain from excess stimulation that can damage nerve cells. The effectiveness of these drugs varies from person to person and is limited in duration.
Many factors contribute to the difficulty of developing effective treatments for Alzheimer’s. These factors include the slow pace of recruiting sufficient numbers of participants and sufficiently diverse participants to clinical studies, gaps in knowledge about the precise molecular changes and biological processes in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s disease, and the relatively long time needed to observe whether an investigational treatment affects disease progression.
2.5.2 Non-pharmacologic therapy
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Common Types Of Dementia In Younger People
There are differences in the types of dementia commonly diagnosed in younger people with dementia compared to those of an older age.
- Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia in younger people, accounting for around a third of younger people with dementia, in comparison to about 60% in the older age group
- Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia in young people. Around 20% of younger people with dementia have vascular dementia
- Around 12% of younger people with dementia have frontotemporal dementia, compared with just 2% in older people. It most commonly occurs between the ages of 45-65. In about 40% of cases there is a family history of the condition
- Korsakoffs syndrome around 10% of dementias in younger people are caused by a lack of vitamin B1 , most commonly associated with alcohol abuse