- Scientists identify promising new target to combat Alzheimer's disease
- Alzheimer's disease - Wikipedia
- Changes in the Brain
The symptoms are usually mild at the beginning and gradually worsen over time. These may include:. Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological disorders, that is, conditions affecting the brain. Dementia is the broad term used to describe a number of different conditions affecting the brain. Find out more about the most common types of dementia. Plaques form consisting of dead cells and amyloid protein. There are three options: Donepezil, Rivastigmine or Galantamine These medications may improve concentration, which helps with memory, thinking and language.
Scientists identify promising new target to combat Alzheimer's disease
There is no single test for Alzheimer's disease, so doctors will look at the signs and symptoms, take a medical history, and rule out other conditions before making a diagnosis. They may also check the person's neurological function, for example, by testing their balance, senses, and reflexes. Other assessments may include a blood or urine test, a CT or MRI scan of the brain, and screening for depression. Sometimes the symptoms of dementia are related to an inherited disorder such as Huntington's disease, so genetic testing may be done. After ruling out other possible conditions, the doctor will carry out cognitive and memory tests, to assess the person's ability to think and remember.
To confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, the following must be present and severe enough to affect daily activities:. Questions that may be asked to test cognitive ability include :. A number of assessment tools are available to assess cognitive function. A gene known as the APOE-e4 is associated with higher chances of people over the age of 55 years developing Alzheimer's.
Using this test early could indicate the likelihood of someone having or developing the disease. However, the test is controversial, and the results are not entirely reliable. In the future, emerging biological tests may make it possible to assess for biomarkers in people who may be at risk of Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's disease - Wikipedia
However, there are therapeutic interventions that can make it easier for people to live with the disease. No disease-modifying drugs are available for Alzheimer's disease, but some options may reduce the symptoms and help improve quality of life. Cholinesterase inhibitors that are approved for symptomatic relief in the U. A different kind of drug, memantine Namenda , an NMDA receptor antagonist, may also be used , alone or in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. The need for quality-of-life care becomes more important as the person becomes less able to live independently.
Results of a mouse study, published in Nature, suggested in that It may one day be possible to restore memories for people with early Alzheimer's. Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer's is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is progressive brain cell death that happens over time. Autopsies have shown that the nerve tissue in the brain of a person with Alzheimer's has tiny deposits, known as plaques and tangles, that build up on the tissue. The plaques are found between the dying brain cells, and they are made from a protein known as beta-amyloid.
Changes in the Brain
The tangles occur within the nerve cells, and they are made from another protein, called tau. Researchers do not fully understand why these changes occur. Several different factors are believed to be involved. The Alzheimer's Association has produced a journey of 16 slides that visualizes what happens in the process of developing Alzheimer's disease. You can access it here. Unavoidable risk factors for developing the condition include :.
Some studies suggest that staying mentally and socially engaged may possibly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. Factors that increase the risk include :. To reduce the risk of TBI-related dementia, it is important always to wear a safety belt when traveling by car, to take precautions when playing contact sports, and to following health instructions and guidelines to ensure sufficient rest and recovery if an injury does occur.
Article last updated by Yvette Brazier on Tue 13 February All references are available in the References tab. Alzheimer's disease information page. Clark, C. Altered sense of humor in dementia [Abstract]. Journal of Alzheimer's disease, 49 1 , DeFina, P. J ournal of Aging Research.
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Role of environmental contaminants in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease: A review. Current Alzheimer Research, 12 2 , McKhann, G. The diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer's disease: Recommendations from the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer's Association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer's disease.
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