Causes Of Alzheimers Disease
Scientists still dont understand what causes Alzheimers disease in most people.
Early-onset Alzheimers is often caused by genetic mutations.
Late-onset Alzheimers seems to be caused by changes in the brain that develop over decades. The causes probably include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
Its still not known why the disease primarily affects older people.
Its possible that reducing the risk of these conditions could also reduce the risk of Alzheimers.
Doctors recommend living a healthy lifestyle to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimers disease. That includes healthy eating, regular exercise, maintaining social connections, and staying mentally active.
Alzheimers Disease: How Could Stem Cells Help
Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia. It is a complex disease that affects nerve cells in many parts of the brain, making effective treatment very challenging. Can stem cell research help us tackle this challenge in the future?
Alzheimers disease is the leading cause of dementia. People affected by AD commonly experience memory loss, confusion and mood swings.
The cause of AD is still unknown, but several theories focus on two proteins, called amyloid beta and tau, which are found in deteriorating areas of an AD brain.
Clumps of amyloid beta proteins form plaques that may prevent neurons from sending signals properly.
Tau protein is important for normal cell function, but researchers think that when tau gets gnarled up into tau tangles it prevents neurons from getting nutrition.
There is currently no cure for AD.
No stem cell treatments are currently approved for AD. Positive effects have been seen with neural stem cell transplants given to mice with a disease similar to AD, but researchers are still studying what these stem cells are doing and how they might help repair the brain.
There are many different neurons throughout the brain that are destroyed by AD, making each case unique and very difficult to treat.
Plaques and tangles:
Who Is J Bart Classen
It turns out that hes been a subject on this particular blog before, primarily as scientist who gave antivaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. ammunition for his false claim that vaccines are responsible for the obesity epidemic. According to Wikipedia, Dr. Classen received his MD from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in 1988 and also has an MBA from Columbia University. Unsurprisingly, hes been quoted by Sharyl Attkisson, a reporter whos become an antivaccine activist and conspiracy theorist in her own right. Classens website, Vaccines.net, is pretty rudimentary but does proclaim:
The content of this site is not intended to be anti-immunization but instead to promote the concept that the goal of immunization is to promote health not eradicate infections. It is hoped that through the collection and dissemination of information about the chronic effects of vaccines, safer immunization practices will become available for those who choose to be immunized.
There it is, the Im not antivaccine Im a pro-safe vaccine gambit, beloved of antivaxxers going back at least to Jenny McCarthy 14 years ago. Naturally, after proclaiming himself a vaccine safety advocate, Dr. Classen then goes on to spout antivaccine misinformation:
And now he thinks that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines can cause prion disease leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers disease. With zero evidence to support his idea and very close to zero biological plausibility. Of course.
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The First Use Of Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer later published his descriptions of several similar patients in 1909 and Kraepelin included Ms. Deters case in the 1910 edition of his widely respected psychiatry textbook. It was Kraepelin who named this dementia after his junior colleague.Auguste Deter was not an elderly woman at the onset of her illness, and Alzheimers disease was therefore regarded as a presenile dementia to distinguish it from the familiar senile dementia thought to result from aging-related vascular disease. Further investigation, however, showed that plaques and tangles were present in the brains of the majority of older adults with symptoms of dementia.
In the late 1960s, the British psychiatrists Tomlinson and Roth described the importance of these plaques in older adults, and in 1970 Dr. Roth questioned the meaningfulness of the age criterion that distinguished AD from senile dementia of the Alzheimers type.
The Basics Of Alzheimers Disease
Scientists are conducting studies to learn more about plaques, tangles, and other biological features of Alzheimers disease. Advances in brain imaging techniques allow researchers to see the development and spread of abnormal amyloid and tau proteins in the living brain, as well as changes in brain structure and function. Scientists are also exploring the very earliest steps in the disease process by studying changes in the brain and body fluids that can be detected years before Alzheimers symptoms appear. Findings from these studies will help in understanding the causes of Alzheimers and make diagnosis easier.
One of the great mysteries of Alzheimers disease is why it largely affects older adults. Research on normal brain aging is exploring this question. For example, scientists are learning how age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and affect other types of brain cells to contribute to Alzheimers damage. These age-related changes include atrophy of certain parts of the brain, inflammation, blood vessel damage, production of unstable molecules called free radicals, and mitochondrial dysfunction .
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How Alzheimer’s Disease Got Its Name
In 1906, Alois Alzheimer gave a lecture outlining the symptoms of Auguste as well as the changes he saw in her brain following her death. In 1907, this lecture was published. However, it wasn’t named after Alzheimer until 1910 when Emil Kraepelin wrote about the case of Auguste D in a psychiatric textbook and first referenced it as “Alzheimer’s disease.”
Emotion And Behavior Treatments
The emotional and behavioral changes linked with Alzheimers disease can be challenging to manage. People may increasingly experience irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, sleep problems, and other difficulties.
Treating the underlying causes of these changes can be helpful. Some may be side effects of medications, discomfort from other medical conditions, or problems with hearing or vision.
Identifying what triggered these behaviors and avoiding or changing these things can help people deal with the changes. Triggers may include changing environments, new caregivers, or being asked to bathe or change clothes.
It is often possible to change the environment to resolve obstacles and boost the persons comfort, security, and peace of mind.
The Alzheimers Association offer a list of helpful coping tips for caregivers.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend medications for these symptoms, such as:
- antidepressants, for low mood
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Hammer Of The Witches
In the Middle Ages, mental illnesses such as depression or dementia were regarded as a kind of punishment necessarily imposed by God for sins comitted. As the reason for dementia was not elucidated rationally in this period, it was considered that abnormal activities and mental symptoms generated in the dementia patients were due to demon-possession, and thus naturally subject to hatred. Patients with dementia were representative victims of a witch hunt that was widespread over the 14th to 15th centuries.
In 1486, Malleus Maleficarum was published by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger who were priests of the Dominican order in the Roman Catholic Church. This book contained the criteria to identify witches, instructions and methods for trial and execution of a sentence, as a textbook of a witch hunt approved by Pope Innocent VIII. It was revised dozens of times and spread throughout the world in various languages. Hundreds of thousands have been burned dreadfully at the stake since the book was published.
People designated as witches according to the criteria defined in the Hammer of the Witches, were mainly mental patients, and most of them were women with symptoms such as paranoia, mania, schizophrenia, epilepsy and senile dementia. For no other reason than their mental instability, they became victims of a witch hunt and a great number of people across Europe were burned to ashes on the rack.
Alzheimers Treatment And Life Expectancy
TreatmentAt this time, there is no cure for Alzheimers. But there are 6 FDA-approved drugs that may improve quality of life for both the person with Alzheimers and their family.
These drugs could help delay, reduce, or stabilize Alzheimers symptoms like memory loss and confusion. They may also help control some behavioral symptoms.
Life expectancyAlzheimers disease typically progresses in three stages.
An early stage with minimal symptoms, a middle stage of increasing cognitive impairment, and a final stage where the person needs help with all activities of living and may not be able to communicate or engage with the world.
People with Alzheimers live an average of 8 years after symptoms become noticeable. But survival can range from 4 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.
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Alzheimer’s Association International Conference
In 2000, the Alzheimer’s Association anticipated establishing and running the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and has made improvements in attendance, conceptual submissions and research-based presentations, and media relationships. The purpose of the AAIC is to join researchers together from all around the globe to report and converse about innovative research and data on the source, findings, cure, and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and associated illnesses. The AAIC is held annually and is the world’s only largest forum for sharing research regarding the dementia research community.
They accept thousands of abstract submissions and hold more than 2,000 scientific meetings to touch the millions of people affected by Alzheimer’s with the use of print newspapers, radio broadcasting, and television newscast exposure. The AAIC has gained news coverage from ABC, the BBC, CBS, CNN, NBC, the Associated Press, Reuters, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, WebMD.com and Forbes.com. Through the customs of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease , the AAIC attempts to gather authority figures from more than 70 different countries to network and converse the most current dementia research outcomes and ideas in 2018.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease happens because of changes in the brain. Some of the symptoms may be related to a loss of chemical messengers in the brain, called neurotransmitters, that allow nerve cells in the brain to communicate properly.
People with Alzheimer’s disease have two things in the brain that are not normal: amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Experts don’t know if amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are side effects of Alzheimer’s disease or part of the cause.
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What Is Alzheimers Disease
- Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia.
- It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
- Alzheimers disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
- It can seriously affect a persons ability to carry out daily activities.
How Is It Treated
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But there are medicines that may slow symptoms down for a while and make the disease easier to live with. These medicines may not work for everyone or have a big effect. But most experts think they are worth a try.
As the disease gets worse, you may get depressed or angry and upset. The doctor may also prescribe medicines to help with these problems.
How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated
Alzheimers is complex, and it is therefore unlikely that any one drug or other intervention will successfully treat it in all people living with the disease.
Scientists are exploring many avenues to delay or prevent the disease as well as to treat its symptoms. In ongoing clinical trials, scientists are developing and testing several possible interventions. Under study are drug therapies aimed at a variety of disease interventions, as well as nondrug approaches such as physical activity, diet, cognitive training, and combinations of these. Just as we have many treatments for heart disease and cancer, we will likely need many options for treating Alzheimers. Precision medicine getting the right treatment to the right person at the right time will likely play a major role.
Current approaches to treating Alzheimers focus on helping people maintain mental function, treating the underlying disease process, and managing behavioral symptoms.
How Can You Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease
If you are or will be taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, start learning what you can expect. This can help you make the most of the person’s abilities as they change. And it can help you deal with new problems as they arise.
Your loved one will need more and more care as the disease gets worse. You may be able to give this care at home. Or you may want to think about using assisted living or a nursing home.
Ask your doctor about local resources such as support groups or other groups that can help as you care for your loved one. You can also search the Internet for online support groups. Help is available.
Early Onset Alzheimers Disease
Although age is the main risk factor for Alzheimers disease, this is not just a condition that affects older adults.
According to the Alzheimers Association, early onset Alzheimers disease affects around 200,000 U.S. adults under the age of 65 years. Many people with this condition are in their 40s or 50s.
In many cases, doctors do not know why younger people develop this condition. Several rare genes can cause the condition. When there is a genetic cause, it is known as familial Alzheimers disease.
How Many Americans Have Alzheimers Disease
Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 6 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimers. Many more under age 65 also have the disease. Unless Alzheimer’s can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. This is because increasing age is the most important known risk factor for Alzheimers disease.
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Could Certain Microbes Act As A Trigger That’s The Central Premise Of The Infection Hypothesis
While it had long been known that the virus could infect the brain leading to a dangerous swelling called encephalitis that required immediate treatment this was thought to be a very rare event. In the early 1990s, however, Itzhaki’s examinations of post-mortem tissue revealed that a surprising number of people showed signs of HSV1 in their neural tissue, without having suffered from encephalitis.
Importantly, the virus didn’t seem to be a risk for the people without the APOE4 gene variant, most of whom did not develop dementia. Nor did the presence of APOE4 make much difference to the risk of people without the infection. Instead, it was the combination of the two that proved to be important. Overall, Itzhaki estimates that the two risk factors make it 12 times more likely that someone will develop Alzheimer’s, compared to people without the gene variant or the latent infection in their brain.
As far back as the 1990s, a surprising number of people showed signs of HSV1 in their neural tissue
Itzhaki hypothesised that this was due to repeated reactivation of the latent virus which, during each bout, invades the brain and somehow triggers the production of amyloid beta, until eventually, people start to show the cognitive decline that marks the onset of dementia. “I think there has to be repeated activation and accumulated damage to explain the long-term course of the disease.”
How Is Alzheimers Disease Diagnosed
Doctors use several methods and tools to help determine whether a person who is having memory problems has Alzheimers disease.
To diagnose Alzheimers, doctors may:
- Ask the person and a family member or friend questions about overall health, use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, diet, past medical problems, ability to carry out daily activities, and changes in behavior and personality.
- Conduct tests of memory, problem solving, attention, counting, and language.
- Carry out standard medical tests, such as blood and urine tests, to identify other possible causes of the problem.
- Perform brain scans, such as computed tomography , magnetic resonance imaging , or positron emission tomography , to support an Alzheimers diagnosis or to rule out other possible causes for symptoms.
These tests may be repeated to give doctors information about how the persons memory and other cognitive functions are changing over time.
People with memory and thinking concerns should talk to their doctor to find out whether their symptoms are due to Alzheimers or another cause, such as stroke, tumor, Parkinsons disease, sleep disturbances, side effects of medication, an infection, or another type of dementia. Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible.
In addition, an early diagnosis provides people with more opportunities to participate in clinical trials or other research studies testing possible new treatments for Alzheimers.
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Support For Families And Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers
Caring for a person with Alzheimers can have significant physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. NIA supports efforts to evaluate programs, strategies, approaches, and other research to improve the quality of care and life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimers and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.
Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other things that may help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.
Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups enable caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimers and their families.