Alzheimers Disease Research
Alzheimers Disease Research
Alzheimers disease (AD) is an incurable disease that affects the brain, worsens with time and eventually leads to death. The disease was named after the German psychiatrist, Alois Alzheimer, who was the first person to explain it. Alzheimer disease research is being carried out because it is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimers is almost completely an age related disease.
The main aim of Alzheimers disease research is to of course find a cure for the illness. It most commonly affects people above the age of 65 but earlier onsets of the disease has been reported. Scientists involved in Alzheimers disease research have projected that without a cure, the disease will affect approximately 1 person in every 85 by the year 2050. There is an expected increase in the number of alzheimers patients mainly because of the number of baby boomers who make up a significant proportion of the population.
The earliest symptom of the disease is difficulty remembering people, places and events. Quite often this symptom is overlooked and put down to age in people over 65. However, as the disease progresses, other symptoms include severe mood swings, irritability, confusion, long term memory loss, difficulty with perception and difficulty with language. At the terminal stages of the disease, bodily functions give way. People die of the complications caused by the disease and not of the disease itself.
Alzheimers disease research still has not found the exact cause of the disease. However, they have pinpointed the parts of the brain that are related to the illness. This discovery is directly responsible for the available treatments for Alzheimers. These treatments do help control the symptoms and to some extent slow the progression of the disease, but they still will in no way cure it.
There have been recent breakthroughs in Alzheimers disease research. These breakthroughs suggest that the cause of Alzheimers at a cellular level has been identified. The scientists, who are based at the University of Sydney have found that the protein called TAU is responsible for the disease.
Alzheimers disease research is also working on early detection methods. One such project involves an eye detector test that is supposed to be able to predict the early onset of the disease. The hope is that if detection is done early, the prognosis will improve.
Even though Alzheimers is an age related disease, there have been several cases of young sufferers. Because of this Alzheimers disease research has unearthed a genetic link in early onset Alzheimers. Early onset Alzheimers commonly occurs from age 30. People who have had a first degree relative suffer from Alzheimers have a higher risk of getting the disease. Children whose parents have the genetic mutation for ALzheimers disease have a 50% chance of inheriting the genetic mutation. If these children inherit this mutation, they will most definitely develop the disease.