Related topics: brain · dementia · protein · memory loss · brain cells

Researchers test sugary solution to Alzheimer’s

(Medical Xpress) -- Slowing or preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease, a fatal brain condition expected to hit one in 85 people globally by 2050, may be as simple as ensuring a brain protein’s sugar levels ...

MEMS nanoinjector for genetic modification of cells

The ability to transfer a gene or DNA sequence from one animal into the genome of another plays a critical role in a wide range of medical research—including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes.

Glitter from silver lights up Alzheimer's dark secrets

Scientists have caught a glimpse of the elusive toxic form of the Alzheimer's molecule, during its attempt to bore into the outer covering of a cell decoy, using a new method involving laser light and fat-coated silver nano-particles.

GPS shoe lets families keep track of elderly relatives

A Teaneck, N.J., shoe maker has joined with a California technology company to create a shoe that uses GPS technology that records where a wearer walks - and can send alerts to caregivers if someone suffering from Alzheimer's ...

GPS shoes for Alzheimer's patients

A shoe-maker and a technology company are teaming up to develop footwear with a built-in GPS device that could help track down "wandering" seniors suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.

Could Alzheimer's disease be diagnosed with a simple blood test?

Spanish researchers, led by Pedro Carmona from the Instituto de Estructura de la Materia in Madrid, have uncovered a new promising way to diagnose Alzheimer's disease more accurately. Their technique, which is non-invasive, ...

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Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD), also called Alzheimer disease, Senile Dementia of the Alzheimer Type (SDAT) or simply Alzheimer's, is the most common form of dementia. This incurable, degenerative, and terminal disease was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him. Generally it is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. An estimated 26.6 million people worldwide had Alzheimer's in 2006; this number may quadruple by 2050.

Although each sufferer experiences Alzheimer's in a unique way, there are many common symptoms. The earliest observable symptoms are often mistakenly thought to be 'age-related' concerns, or manifestations of stress. In the early stages, the most commonly recognised symptom is memory loss, such as difficulty in remembering recently learned facts. When a doctor or physician has been notified, and AD is suspected, the diagnosis is usually confirmed with behavioural assessments and cognitive tests, often followed by a brain scan if available. As the disease advances, symptoms include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, language breakdown, long-term memory loss, and the general withdrawal of the sufferer as their senses decline. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Individual prognosis is difficult to assess, as the duration of the disease varies. AD develops for an indeterminate period of time before becoming fully apparent, and it can progress undiagnosed for years. The mean life expectancy following diagnosis is approximately seven years. Fewer than three percent of individuals live more than fourteen years after diagnosis.

The cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. Currently used treatments offer a small symptomatic benefit; no treatments to delay or halt the progression of the disease are as yet available. As of 2008, more than 500 clinical trials were investigating possible treatments for AD, but it is unknown if any of them will prove successful. Many measures have been suggested for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, but their value is unproven in slowing the course and reducing the severity of the disease. Mental stimulation, exercise, and a balanced diet are often recommended, as both a possible prevention and a sensible way of managing the disease.

Because AD cannot be cured and is degenerative, management of patients is essential. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by the spouse or a close relative. Alzheimer's disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers; the pressures can be wide-ranging, involving social, psychological, physical, and economic elements of the caregiver's life. In developed countries, AD is one of the most economically costly diseases to society.

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