Alzheimer’s disease, which was first recognized and described in 1906 by researcher Alois Alzheimer , is the most common cause of dementia and is highly prevalent in older people. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that initially manifests as minor cognitive problems such as forgetfulness.

8 things you should know about Alzheimer’s

Is irreversible

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible and progressive disease of the brain that slowly destroys memory, thinking, language, and, over time, even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most affected people, symptoms first appear after age 60. The formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain are two of the main characteristics of the disease.

It is a disease that is on the rise

Currently around 35 million people around the world suffer from Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The 2010 World Alzheimer’s Report, released by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and King’s College London, estimates that the number of patients will double in 2030 and triple by 2050.

Diabetes associated with Alzheimer’s

Having insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes raises the risk of developing brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Kensuke Sasaki, a professor of neuropathology at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, recently demonstrated.

High cholesterol associated with Alzheimer’s

A pioneering study coordinated by the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and published in The American Journal of Medicine last March linked disorders of higher brain functions with high blood cholesterol levels for the first time.

Vitamin B helps against Alzheimer’s

High doses of vitamin B can halve brain shrinkage in older people experiencing some signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to research by scientists from the Oxford Project for Research on Memory and Aging (OPTIMA for their acronym in English).

Big head of Alzheimer patient with better memory

People with Alzheimer’s who have a large head have better memory and more ability to think than those patients with the same disease and a smaller head, even if Alzheimer’s has killed the same number of neurons in both cases, as published ago little the journal Neurology.

Olfactory problems as the first signs of Alzheimer’s

One of the first functions that is affected in people who develop Alzheimer’s is the lexical system and semantic categories, especially those referring to living beings, which are lost before those of non-living beings (tools, vehicles, clothing, etc. .). Hence, a study carried out by the National Distance Education University (UNED) has just proposed that an enumeration test be carried out on various animals or plants to detect early the development of Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Smell problems can also serve as an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.

New methods to detect Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the University of Granada have designed an intelligent system that could anticipate the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. It involves processing brain images acquired using computerized tomography techniques, after administering a radiopharmaceutical to the patient intravenously. The researchers compare the results with an automatic classification algorithm, developed from a database with images of the brains of sick and healthy people, which allows them to be classified with an accuracy close to 95 percent.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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