Alzheimer’s Disease is a condition that mainly affects old people. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s see a decline in memory and cognitive performance. Sometimes the decline is slow and steady, but other times symptoms can come on rapidly.
Not only is the condition a struggle for the patient, but Alzheimer’s also affects the people around them. These people often need regular care, and it’s emotionally trying for the people they love to see them lose their mental capacity.
Thankfully, there have been a lot of positive developments in the treatment of Alzheimer’s. However, there is still a long way to go. This is a condition that generally affects older people. Though early-onset Alzheimer’s does occur. Most people with Alzheimer’s start seeing early warning signs and symptoms in their 60s. It’s one of the most common causes of dementia in adults. Let’s learn a bit more about Alzheimer’s, how it affects people, and ways to limit symptoms.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is named after Dr. Alzheimer. He noticed physical changes in brain tissue of patients who died experiencing strange mental conditions. The patients had symptoms like memory loss and trouble speaking. When examining the brain, Dr. Alzheimer found interesting plaque build ups in the brain tissue that were tangled with fibers.
Even now, over 100 years later, these plaque build ups are one of the main indicators of Alzheimer’s. However, now, we have ways of spotting them before someone dies. Modern medical devices can scan the brain to look for these fibers and plaque before full dementia develops.
In a typical patient, plaque build ups and damage to normal brain tissue usually happen in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex where memory function happens. It then spreads to other parts of the brain that manage language learning, social interactions, and even decision making. It’s one of the main reasons why people with the condition develop trouble understanding what is happening to them and why. It’s not just that they become forgetful. Eventually, many normal brain functions become impaired.
Depending on how quickly the symptoms grow, at some point, most Alzheimer’s patients need to stop driving, cooking, and taking care of other routine items. They often need full-time care to ensure they are well taken care of. Alzheimer’s patients sometimes experience symptoms on and off. So, for example, a patient may find their way to the grocery store with no problem, but then have no idea how to get home and can’t tell someone where they live.
Right now, Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The time from diagnosis to death varies a great deal, but right now there is no cure for the disease.
Peptides & Alzheimer’s Disease
Autophagy is one of the main avenues that researchers are pursuing as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s. With autophagy, the central nervous system protects against neurodegenerative diseases. Enhancing natural autophagy could help prevent and even reverse neurological damage. Building natural immunity to Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions that lead to dementia and similar issues is a priority in the medical field. A recent study on animals into the peptide Thymosin Beta-4 indicates the peptide has a positive effect on the immune system and may enhance autophagy. Of course, there is still a lot of research and development that needs to happen, but progress is happening.