Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. Approximately 24 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimers. Genetic factors are suspected, and dominant mutations in three different genes have been identified that account for the small number of cases of familial, early-onset AD. A small percentage Alzheimer’s patients are under 50 years of age. Some are genetics may play a role in many AD cases. . Only about 15 percent of people have the form that increases the risk of AD. It is likely that other genes also may increase the risk of AD or protect against AD. Alzheimer’s disease has been identified as a protein misfolding disease, or proteopathy, due to the accumulation of abnormally folded amyloid beta protein and tau protein in the brains of AD patients. AD is also considered a tauopathy due to abnormal aggregation of the tau protein, a microtubule-associated protein expressed in neurons that normally acts to stabilize microtubules in the cell cytoskeleton.
Alzheimer’s is caused by a loss of brain cells, as well as changes in the cerebral cortex. An accumulation of tangled fibers and/or plaques forms around the nerves in the cerebral cortex. It is unknown why the tangled fibers and plaques develop in the brain. Adults with damaged blood vessels in the brain or atrophy in their temporal lobe are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Environmental factors sometimes claimed to increase risk of Alzheimer’s including prior head injury, particularly repeated trauma, previous incidents of migraine headaches, exposure to defoliants, and low activity levels during adulthood. However, with the exception of previous concussion, none of these environmental risk factors are widely accepted. AD usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as you get older. AD is also considered a tauopathy due to abnormal aggregation of the tau protein, a microtubule-associated protein expressed in neurons that normally acts to stabilize microtubules in the cell cytoskeleton.
Treatment modalities include counseling, psychotherapy (if cognitive functioning is adequate), reminiscent therapy, reality orientation therapy, and behavioral reinforcements as well as cognitive rehabilitation training. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors were thought to be important because there is a reduction in activity of the cholinergic neurons. Vaccines or immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s, unlike typical vaccines, would be used to treat diagnosed patients rather than for disease prevention. Combining memantine with other AD drugs may be more effective than any single therapy. One controlled clinical trial found that patients receiving donepezil plus memantine had better cognition and other functions than patients receiving donepezil alone. Also, other medications may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression. One controlled clinical trial found that patients receiving donepezil plus memantine had better cognition and other functions than patients receiving donepezil alone.
Alzheimers Treatment Tips
1. Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl) may keep some symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time.
2. Combining memantine with other AD drugs may be more effective than any single therapy.
3. Other medications may help control behavioral symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, wandering, anxiety, and depression.
4. Memantine (Namenda) works by regulating the activity of glutamate, a different messenger chemical involved in learning and memory.m
5. Vitamin E can negatively interact with other medications, including those prescribed to keep blood from clotting.
6. Coenzyme Q10, or ubiquinone, is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the body and is needed for normal cell reactions.
7. Ginkgo biloba is a plant extract containing several compounds that may have positive effects on cells within the brain and the body.
8. Coral calcium supplements have been heavily marketed as a cure for Alzheimers disease, cancer and other serious illnesses.