life can change in the blink of an eye, especially when you have Alzheimer's.
Your conversations with others just go round in circles. You realize that
suddenly your goals, dreams and priorities are forced to take different turns.
In this disease, the mind dies first; slowly the interior scrapbook of your
entire life like names, places, dates and so on, all fade into a mist of
What is Alzheimer's?
irreversible, progressive brain disorder which gradually destroys your memory
and thinking skills, and is devastating in the sense that you eventually even
lose the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Since many years, the medical
profession has had the means to reduce and reverse the signs and symptoms of
the common cause of dementia, which is basically the loss of cognitive function
such as thinking, remembering, reasoning to the extent that it causes major
interference in a person's life and day-to-day activities. Alzheimer's is a
neuro degenerative type of dementia, which starts off mild, but gets
progressively worse with time. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be
nearly 135 million people globally who would be suffering from dementia. In
2010 alone, the total annual global cost incurred in treatment of dementia was
thought to be about $604 billion.
What Causes Alzheimer's Disease?
all types of dementia, Alzheimer's is caused by brain cell
It is seen that as more and more of the brain cells die, it leads to
gradual shrinkage of the brain cells. It results from a combination of genetic,
lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time.
believe that the collection of plaques of beta-amyloid protein, which causes
damage to the brain cells, is the main cause of the disease.
brain, transport of nutrients and other essential materials requires the normal
structure and functioning of a protein called tau. However, in Alzheimer's
disease, this protein is reported to twist into abnormal tangles in the brain
which leads to failure of the transport system and eventually the death of the
New Blood Test to Detect Alzheimer's
According to the scientists,
the reason for yielding poor test results in drug trials of patients with
Alzheimer's disease is because medications are administered quite late in the
development of the disease.
However, a new study conducted
by King's College, London and Oxford University reveals a breakthrough
revolution. The scientists of this study have identified a group of 10
biomarkers or proteins in the blood, which they believe could potentially
predict the onset of Alzheimer's disease. This new blood test
could reportedly detect Alzheimer's as many as
10 years before clinical diagnosis of the disease is made. This is far sooner
than other tests in development. The tests could be used to detect patients at
risk of developing Alzheimer's, so that treatment could be started earlier.
cognitive impairment or MCI could be an early sign of dementia, which includes
problems with day-to-day memory, attention and language. It is estimated that
nearly 10% of people with MCI go on to develop dementia within a year of
getting it. There is currently no reliable way of predicting MCI in individuals.
The team of researchers
studied blood sample results from three international studies. Of the 1,148
individuals studied, 476 were patients with Alzheimer's disease, 220 with MCI,
and 452 elderly people without dementia who acted as controls. It was also reported
that 476 individuals across all the three groups had undergone MRI brain scans.
first analysis of 26 proteins in the blood samples, it was found that 16 of
them linked strongly to brain shrinkage in the MCI and Alzheimer's groups.
second analysis, the researchers discovered a combination of 10 proteins which
could predict whether individuals would progress from MCI to Alzheimer's
disease within a year with an accuracy rating of nearly 87%.
Abdul Hye of King's Institute of Psychiatry, who was also the lead author, said
that the study marks the end of many years' work to find which of the thousands
of proteins in the blood were clinically relevant.
also commented, "We now have a set of 10 proteins that can predict whether
someone with early symptoms of memory loss, or mild cognitive impairment
will develop Alzheimer's disease within a year, with a high level of
who is a senior author and a professor at the University of Oxford explained
that Alzheimer's starts to affect the brain years before patients can expect to
receive a diagnosis. He added "Although we are making drugs they are all
failing, but if we could treat people earlier it may be that the drugs are
effective. Alzheimer's begins to affect the brain many years before patients
are diagnosed with the disease. If we could treat the disease in that phase we
would in effect have a preventative strategy."
Till these tests are further validated, remember
that those with Alzheimer's are still people and they still have stories and
character, they are all individuals and are all unique. They just need to be
interacted on a human level. They
say that there is no substitute for the love of an Alzheimer's
And to care for those who
once cared for us is undoubtedly one of the highest honors!!!!