Pathway Breakdown Leading To Alzheimer’s Damage
In the second breakdown pathway APP is split by enzymes -secretase then -secretase . Some of the fragments that result stick together and form a short chain called an oligomer. Oligomers are also known as ADDL, amyloid-beta derived diffusible ligands. Oligomers of amyloid beta 42 type have been shown to be highly toxic. A42 produces tiny fibers, or fibrils, and when they stick together they form an amyloid plaque that collects between neurons, causing dysfunction of cell to cell communication at the synapse.
Health Environmental And Lifestyle Factors
Research suggests that a host of factors beyond genetics may play a role in the development and course of Alzheimers. There is a great deal of interest, for example, in the relationship between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Ongoing research will help us understand whether and how reducing risk factors for these conditions may also reduce the risk of Alzheimers.
A nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits have all been associated with helping people stay healthy as they age. These factors might also help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimers. Researchers are testing some of these possibilities in clinical trials.
What Causes Alzheimers Disease
In recent years, scientists have made tremendous progress in better understanding Alzheimers and the momentum continues to grow. Still, scientists dont yet fully understand what causes Alzheimers disease in most people. In people with early-onset Alzheimers, a genetic mutation may be the cause. Late-onset Alzheimers arises from a complex series of brain changes that may occur over decades. The causes probably include a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The importance of any one of these factors in increasing or decreasing the risk of developing Alzheimers may differ from person to person.
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Healthis The Key To Alzheimer’s Disease Brain Inflammation
The connection likely has to do with a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb, which processes sense of smell. The olfactory bulb also sends signals to other parts of the brain that play a role in emotion, memory and learning. Past research has shown that this is the point of entry that allows the coronavirus to infiltrate the brain, which is why people commonly lose their sense of smell. However, it’s also possible that the virus may not have to reach the brain to affect the olfactory bulb. Instead, memory loss or speech impairment may be caused by the body’s inflammatory response to the virus.
Past research also showed that people who were sicker with Covid-19 were more at risk for cognitive impairment, but only 10 percent of patients in the Argentine cohort were hospitalized, and 50 percent had cognitive impairment, suggesting that the severity of the disease at the start doesn’t appear to determine long-term effects. And in another new study, published Thursday in JAMA Network Open, Norwegian researchers found that 12 percent of people reported continual issues with concentration eight months after they had Covid-19. Eleven percent had ongoing memory problems.
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Cheng led a study published last month in the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy that also linked biomarkers indicative of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia to those found in recovered Covid patients who experienced cognitive impairment.
The Stages Of Alzheimer’s
All of the above processes have a devastating impact on the brain, and over time, it shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all of its functions. The rate of progression of the disease varies greatly. People with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years, but some people may survive up to 20 years. The course of the disease depends in part on age at diagnosis and whether a person has other health conditions.
The medical community uses stages to apply a timeframe to the progression of the disease. It is important for family members to be aware of this in order to adequately prepare for increasing levels of care.
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How Does Covid Damage The Brain
These nasal sensory cells connect to an area of the brain known as the limbic system, which is involved in emotion, learning and memory.
In a UK-based study released as a pre-print online in June, researchers compared brain images taken of people before and after exposure to COVID. They showed parts of the limbic system had decreased in size compared to people not infected. This could signal a future vulnerability to brain diseases and may play a role in the emergence of long-COVID symptoms.
COVID could also indirectly affect the brain. The virus can damage blood vessels and cause either bleeding or blockages resulting in the disruption of blood, oxygen, or nutrient supply to the brain, particularly to areas responsible for problem solving.
The virus also activates the immune system, and in some people, this triggers the production of toxic molecules which can reduce brain function.
Although research on this is still emerging, the effects of COVID on nerves that control gut function should also be considered. This may impact digestion and the health and composition of gut bacteria, which are known to influence the function of the brain.
The virus could also compromise the function of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, often known as the master gland, regulates hormone production. This includes cortisol, which governs our response to stress. When cortisol is deficient, this may contribute to long-term fatigue.
Support For Families And Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers
Caring for a person with Alzheimers can have significant physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. NIA supports efforts to evaluate programs, strategies, approaches, and other research to improve the quality of care and life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimers and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.
Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other things that may help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.
Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups enable caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimers and their families.
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Foods That Induce Memory Loss
Unfortunately, the foods that hamper memory are common staples in the American diet. White breads, pasta, processed meats and cheeses, all of these have been linked to Alzheimers disease. Some experts have even found that whole grain breads are as bad as white breads because they spike blood sugar, which causes inflammation.
Heres a list of foods linked to increased rates of Alzheimers disease:
- Processed cheeses, including American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez Whiz and Laughing Cow. These foods build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimers.
- Processed meats, such as bacon, smoked turkey from the deli counter and ham. Smoked meats like these contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
- Beer. Most beers contain nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimers.
- White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread. Consuming these causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
- Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimers disease.
How Does Alzheimers Disease Affect The Brain
The brain typically shrinks to some degree in healthy aging but, surprisingly, does not lose neurons in large numbers. In Alzheimers disease, however, damage is widespread, as many neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Alzheimers disrupts processes vital to neurons and their networks, including communication, metabolism, and repair.
At first, Alzheimers disease typically destroys neurons and their connections in parts of the brain involved in memory, including the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. It later affects areas in the cerebral cortex responsible for language, reasoning, and social behavior. Eventually, many other areas of the brain are damaged. Over time, a person with Alzheimers gradually loses his or her ability to live and function independently. Ultimately, the disease is fatal.
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Safety And Supportive Measures
Creating a safe and supportive environment can be very helpful.
Generally, the environment should be bright, cheerful, safe, stable, and designed to help with orientation. Some stimulation, such as a radio or television, is helpful, but excessive stimulation should be avoided.
Structure and routine help people with Alzheimer disease stay oriented and give them a sense of security and stability. Any change in surroundings, routines, or caregivers should be explained to people clearly and simply.
Following a daily routine for tasks such as bathing, eating, and sleeping helps people with Alzheimer disease remember. Following a regular routine at bedtime may help them sleep better.
Activities scheduled on a regular basis can help people feel independent and needed by focusing their attention on pleasurable or useful tasks. Such activities should include physical and mental activities. Activities should be broken down in small parts or simplified as the dementia worsens.
How Alzheimers Disease Affects The Brain
Everyone who cares for someone with Alzheimer’s disease knows all too well that this condition is a thief who slowly steals the most precious parts of those they love. Their memories, ability to communicate, self expression, thinking and planning skills, and personality transform, fade, or eventually disappear.
Caring for someone throughout the stages of AD can leave caregivers feeling powerless, unprepared, and frustrated. Understanding how the disease affects the brain can help caregivers know more about what to expect as it progresses and how to prepare for the later stages. Reducing the amount of surprise involved can make this process less stressful and help caregivers to better look after themselves and their loved ones.
Remember that Alzheimer’s disease is not natural aging. It is a progressive disease that causes the abnormal death of brain cells. The initial signs of dementia often include memory loss, but as the disease progresses, it affects more of the brain until the person is unable to move, swallow or breathe.
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Take Action To Address Alzheimers Disease
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Alzheimers disease. Although early treatment can slow its progression, the condition is ultimately fatal. This doesnt mean that you cant significantly improve the length and quality of life for an Alzheimers patient, however.
Have your family members get checked for signs of Alzheimers as they get older, especially if the condition runs in your family or youre worried about memory problems/other symptoms. Catching the condition sooner will make treatments more likely to have better results, and give you more time to spend with your loved ones. Remember, it is possible to sustain a better quality of life with proper treatment. Early detection is the best way to make this possible.
can help diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other causes of dementia. Dealing with this disease can be a strain mentally, emotionally, and financially, but you don’t have to do it alone!
Inactivating Cofilin 1 Impairs Dendritic Spines
Phosphorylation, or the addition of a phosphoryl group, to cofilin 1, however, renders the protein inactive.
The researchers observed how exposure to beta-amyloid peptides in cultured brain cells led to more phosphorylated cofilin 1. This reduced the dynamism of actin filaments and, in turn, impaired the ability of dendritic spines to receive signals.
Further investigation revealed that an enzyme called Rho-associated protein kinase could be a target for reducing cofilin 1 phosphorylation. The enzyme activates and deactivates other molecules through phosphorylation.
Tests with a drug called Fasudil that blocks ROCK showed that it reversed the effects that the team observed in the actin filaments.
He suggests that further research into drugs that specifically stop that phosphorylation of cofilin 1 in brain cells could be a promising avenue for finding new Alzheimers disease treatments.
We have not come up with an action mechanism, but we confirmed that the inhibition of the phosphorylation pathway of cofilin 1 prevents exposure to beta-amyloid peptides from causing the deactivation of the protein and the consequent effect on the cytoskeleton of the dendritic spines.
José Martínez-Hernández, Ph.D.
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Exchange Of Information In Brain Is Affected In Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease also greatly affects the transmission and exchange of information inside the brain. The process of thinking and memory depends on the transmission of signals among and across the neurons. Alzheimers affects the brain by interfering with the signal transmission within the cells, activity of neurotransmitters or brain chemicals. This results in faulty signaling and affects the brain, resulting in impaired ability to communicate, learn and remember.
How Is Alzheimers Disease Treated
Alzheimers is complex, and it is therefore unlikely that any one drug or other intervention will successfully treat it in all people living with the disease.
Scientists are exploring many avenues to delay or prevent the disease as well as to treat its symptoms. In ongoing clinical trials, scientists are developing and testing several possible interventions. Under study are drug therapies aimed at a variety of disease interventions, as well as nondrug approaches such as physical activity, diet, cognitive training, and combinations of these. Just as we have many treatments for heart disease and cancer, we will likely need many options for treating Alzheimers. Precision medicine getting the right treatment to the right person at the right time will likely play a major role.
Current approaches to treating Alzheimers focus on helping people maintain mental function, treating the underlying disease process, and managing behavioral symptoms.
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Research On Alzheimers Continues
Alzheimers treatment can help improve the quality of life for people with the disease and slow its progress but the quest for new treatments continues worldwide.
The aim is to develop medications that target the brain changes that Alzheimers causes, but more research funding is needed to achieve that goal.
You can review the Alzheimers Associations Treatment Horizon webpage for more information about treatment of the disease.
What changes have you witnessed in a loved one going through the stages of Alzheimers? What can you tell others to help them cope through these stages? Wed like to hear your stories and suggestions in the comments below.
Physical Changes To Expect
Which symptoms you have and when they appear are different for everyone.
Some people have physical problems before serious memory loss.
In one study, people who walked slowly and had poor balance were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in the following 6 years.
Some of the changes you might experience are:
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How Does Alzheimer’s Disease Affect The Brain
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in Alzheimers disease. Changes in the brain may begin a decade or more before symptoms appear. During this very early stage of Alzheimers, toxic changes are taking place in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins that form amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Previously healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Many other complex brain changes are thought to play a role in Alzheimers as well.
The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, which are parts of the brain that are essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected and begin to shrink. By the final stage of Alzheimers, damage is widespread and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
Icipating In Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials
Everybody those with Alzheimers disease or MCI as well as healthy volunteers with or without a family history of Alzheimers may be able to take part in clinical trials and studies. Participants in Alzheimers clinical research help scientists learn how the brain changes in healthy aging and in Alzheimers. Currently, at least 270,000 volunteers are needed to participate in more than 250 active clinical trials and studies that are testing ways to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent Alzheimers disease.
Volunteering for a clinical trial is one way to help in the fight against Alzheimers. Studies need participants of different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that results are meaningful for many people. To learn more about clinical trials, watch this video from NIH’s National Library of Medicine.
NIA leads the federal governments research efforts on Alzheimers. NIA-supported Alzheimers Disease Research Centers throughout the U.S. conduct a wide range of research, including studies of the causes, diagnosis, and management of the disease. NIA also sponsors the Alzheimers Clinical Trials Consortium, which is designed to accelerate and expand studies and therapies in Alzheimers and related dementias.
To learn more about Alzheimers clinical trials and studies:
- Talk to your health care provider about local studies that may be right for you.
Watch videos of participants in Alzheimers disease clinical trials talking about their experiences.
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Managing Alzheimer’s Disease Behavior
Common behavioral symptoms of Alzheimers include sleeplessness, wandering, agitation, anxiety, and aggression. Scientists are learning why these symptoms occur and are studying new treatments drug and nondrug to manage them. Research has shown that treating behavioral symptoms can make people with Alzheimers more comfortable and makes things easier for caregivers.