Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that starts very slowly and progressively gets worse and worse. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia, a term for memory loss, and is attributed to 60-80% of dementia cases. Many believe that one gets Alzheimer’s because of genetics, however there are many more risk factors. Scientists have identified that the greatest risk factors are ageing, family history, and heredity. Most individuals with the disease are senior citizens usually 65 years or older. The risk of getting Alzheimer’s increases as one gets older. Family history is also a very important factor. The chance of getting Alzheimer’s increases if one has a relative with the illness. The genes can get passed on from generation to generation and each might get affected by the disease. However, there are other factors too. There is a strong connection between Alzheimer’s and head injuries. The more head injuries an individual has the more likely they are to get Alzheimer’s. Recent studies have also shown that women are more likely to get the disease than men. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 2.5 times as many women with Alzheimer’s than men.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the impairment of learning and memory rapidly increase leading to a clear diagnosis. In some cases, problems with language and execution of body movements are more prominent. Gradually as time passes, communicating becomes harder and harder and the patient requires assistance to perform certain tasks. Eventually, assistance is required to perform the most common of daily activities like walking, eating, and bathing. During the final stages of Alzheimer’s the patient loses much of their ability to speak and feed themselves and eventually they die.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s but scientists are actively trying to find one. Researchers at Stanford University have found that nerve cells in the brain die because cells that are supposed to be protecting the brain from viruses and bacteria stop working. These cells tend to operate less efficiently when people get older because a single protein called EP2 prevents the cells from working properly. Scientists have found that blocking the protein in mice reversed memory loss and other Alzheimer symptoms. Now, scientists at Stanford are trying to produce a compound blocking the protein.

In my opinion, finding the cure for Alzheimer’s disease is very important. Tons of people suffer from Alzheimer’s every day and they go through a lot that we should not have to experience. Patients lose the ability to recognize family members and they forget many of the things they have experienced in their lifetime. Individuals with Alzheimer’s are very helpless and they need assistance to do any kind of task. What the researchers at Stanford have done is remarkable. It could potentially lead to a cure for Alzheimer’s and people will not have to suffer the effects of Alzheimer’s. I thought that the idea of blocking the EP2 protein was a very clever idea and I hope that scientists develop a cure based off what they have discovered and that they learn more about Alzheimer’s.

This entry was written by Vinay T. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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