First identified in the year 1906 by a German
scientist Alois Alzheimer, this deadly disease is estimated to affect some 18
million people worldwide, 3.5 million of which are Indians. According to the
World Health Organization, these numbers are expected to be doubled by the year
2025, making it a serious cause of concern. Alzheimer's often produces symptoms
that are ignored. It may be a simple struggle to remember the title of a movie,
or the name of an acquaintance, but as the disease progresses, it demonstrates
much more dramatic symptoms than occasional memory lapses. Often, it is
observed, that people suffering from Alzheimer's lose their sense of smell
before the disease actually becomes apparent.
simple standard cognitive detection test is carried out as the first step to
the detection of Alzheimer's. If a patient fails this test, he/she is further
subjected to a series of tests, including a brain scan.
Spinal fluid testing is by far the most accurate
method of detection of Alzheimer's disease; however, it is rarely carried out.
Combined with a brain scan, this test produces 85-90% accuracy in diagnosis.
is better than cure'-The saying holds true, even for Alzheimer's. Simple
lifestyle changes can make a significant difference and boost brain immunity
keeping Alzheimer's and other brain disorders at bay. Inflammation, one of the
major causes of the onset of this disease, is thought to be reduced by
exercise. Elderly people who exercise regularly are at a much lower risk of
developing Alzheimer's disease and other diseases that affect cognitive
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially
green leafy ones reduce chronic inflammation to a great extent. Another study
demonstrates the efficiency of coffee in preventing Alzheimer's. Coffee and
moderate wine consumption is thought to protect the brain. Furthermore, people
who consume non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) on a regular basis
are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's and any other form of dementia. It
is also found that taking supplements of vitamin B6 and B12 could lessen the
shrinkage of brain and slow down the cognitive decline to over 2 years.
The best way, however, to delay and prevent the
onset of this disease is to keep the brain busy especially in the later years
of life. Elderly people who regularly play mind games like Sudoku and solve
crossword puzzles have healthy brains than those who don't. Learning a new
language later in life is also known to boost brain power and reduce the risk
of cell damage.
of February 2012 marked the accomplishment of a remarkable feat
in the study of Alzheimer's disease. The scientists at the University Of
Columbia, New York and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in
Norway reported astonishing findings that could change the course of how
Alzheimer's is treated.
These scientists managed to prove that this
disease actually spreads from one brain cell to another, continuing this
process along a predictable path, gradually destroying a considerable portion
of the person's brain, impairing the ability to think and remember. Numerous
researches have already proven the fact that the more worse and severe the
symptoms, the greater the area of the brain affected.
This particular research shows that an abnormal
protein called 'tau' shows up on the brain cells of people suffering from
Alzheimer's just as the symptoms begin. This protein tangles up the connection
between two brain cells, thus causing them to die. For now, these studies are
currently conducted in mice, and once proved to be equally right in humans,
could change the course of how Alzheimer's will be treated.