Understanding Alzheimer’s and the Wave of Confused Old Folks

2009-06-25 | |
Last updated: 2009-06-25

Of the effects of aging on the body, severe memory loss, loss of reasoning abilities and loss of awareness are some of most tragic outcomes both to the victims and to those who know them. This loss of mental abilities, called dementia, is caused by Alzheimer’s Disease in 50 to 70% of those with dementia. People who develop the condition eventually degrade to the point where they lose their ability to function on their own and require care at all hours.

Though identified as an abnormal condition related to aging more than 100 years ago, the formal recognition of Alzheimer’s as a disease did not occur until the 1960’s and not until the 1990’s was a link made between the disease and genetics. Since the 1990’s however, research into Alzheimer’s has grown considerably with results having led to the development of a number of drugs that reduce the symptoms and slow the rate of mental decline. However, to date, none of the drugs thus far developed has been confirmed to halt the progression of the disease and restore mental function.

What Has Medical Research Discovered Regarding Alzheimer’s Disease?

Understanding The Possibilities For Preventing Alzheimer’s

With any ongoing research into a disease, scientists find many facts that end up being passed on to the public though these facts only offer a peek at how the disease operates. For example, those with high cholesterol have a higher risk of developing the disease than those with normal cholesterol levels. However, the use of drugs that lower cholesterol has not conclusively been shown to reduce the risk of developing the disease as different studies have found different results. Daily doses of caffeine from coffee, however, seem to reduce the risks of developing Alzheimer’s caused by high cholesterol levels.

Other findings of interest are that eating certain regular weekly levels of fruits and vegetables cuts the risk of Alzheimer’s development by 76%. Patients who use the off-the-shelf painkiller and inflammation-fighting drug ibuprofen for long periods have 40% less chance of developing the disease. Increased insulin levels in the brain seem to protect against damage caused by the disease. Those with bigger brains are less likely to develop the disease despite having brains that, under the microscope, look similar to those with Alzheimer’s. Lastly, poor oral hygiene can contribute to development of Alzheimer’s. While all interesting facts, none of these has directly described what is happening in the brains of those with the disease.

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Category: General Health, Health Risks, Medical Research

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