Alzheimer’s Disease? What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, the risk factors, symptoms, treatments and current research.
What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a very broad term & what dimension means is that an individual has loss of cognition in two or more areas of cognition in the brains: memory, language skills or memory + judgment.
If the loss of those cognitive abilities is severe enough to in effect day a day function we call that a dementia.
turns out that Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most common cause of dementia but there are many other forms of dementia
Dementia and Alzheimer’s loss unfortunately are quite common and it is age related so by age 65, about 5% of people will have a dementia.
by age 75 it’s up to about 10% of all people have a dementia and by age 85 of 40% or 50% of all people will have some form of dementia
The risk factors for a dementia include a genetics on the average each of us has roughly a 5% lifetime risk of coming down outside Mrs is..
if you have one parent with Alzheimer’s disease your risk goes up three full epidemiologic studies show that the more education that a person has a less likely are have a dementia
a third rest risk factors head trauma people have had head trauma particularly severe enough to be socially with concussion or a higher risk for dementia
For the primary or early symptoms of a dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, most often consist of some form of memory loss, particularly with recent events.
the person will ask the same questions over and over again they’ll forget about something
that had happened just an hour ago or yesterday other remote events from early in their life often intact initially is the recent events that they forget.
other examples include the loss of what we call executive function the ability to plan and execute.
for example if somebody was previously able to prepare meals that have three or four parts and their multi tasking other ability to prepare that meal what will become impaired.
a third early symptom could be personality change, they become withdrawn and it it’s just not them.
another problem with just the lack of a verbal ability or verbal output, they’re no longer able to express themselves another problem is what we call visual spatial skills often manifests with driving problems, they just can’t visually put their environment together or spatial skills, they get lost in familiar places.
people often want to know are there any signs early in life it’ll come down with the dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest questions in our field.
on the research level there are certain approaches to brain imaging, that might predict that someone is more likely to come down with Alzheimer’s.
the right now for somebody in their twenties or thirties or forties there’s no reliable way to predict who will actually get dementia, although there a sign there are ways to know some of that increase risk.
there a considerable number of studies are showing that exercise physical, exercise makes a big difference.
people that are physically active have about a forty or fifty percent reduced likelihood of coming down the Alzheimer’s & some of the related dementias that’s a huge affect.
the second strategy is healthy diet, there are a number of studies out there now showing that the so called Mediterranean diet can reduce risk by about thirty to forty percent .
the third strategy is remaining cognitively engaged, cognitively active, you’ll hear the example of crosswords puzzles, but it doesn’t have to be that, it’s just keeping your mind engaged with something interesting in your environment.
so terms of us specific treatment options I would put those in several categories, one goes back to just the overall lifestyle getting enough exercise, physical activity, remaining engaged, cognitively with one’s environment and diet.
there are currently four FDA approved medications that an oral exist or other physician will work with they can make the cognition work a little bit better and delay things by six or twelve months.
the third area to think about if somebody does have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, is entering a clinical trial to test an experimental treatment.
one Exciting area is the ability to detect this disease as early as possible.
one area involves brain imaging and we’re fortunate here and stand for we have some of the leading brain imaging people in the world.
a second exciting research area is looking at patterns in the blood of that can detect early or process sees that might lead to dementia
finally there 2 new generation of treatments for this disorder attempts to go beyond just symptomatic treatment but really attacking some of the underlying mechanisms.
that are causing the brain degeneration and there are a number of teams here at Stanford they’re making great progress in that area, none of these are ready to be clinically available patients yet but that’s our goal.
(Frank M. MD, Phd – Stanford Hospital)
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