Alzheimer’s Disease: History, Origin, Symptoms, and Treatment Methods

Alzheimer’s disease is known to be the most prevalent type of mental illness, which currently affects more than five million of U.S. citizens. This disease is regarded as a chronical neurodegenerative ailment, which typically begins in a slowly manner and relapses with the time. Similarly to Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer illness is presently known to be incurable disease featured by a depleting disorder, by which the nerve interconnections of the brain cautiously forfeit function and structures. The current paper will research Alzheimer’s disease, its history, symptoms, breakthroughs in cure, and alternative methods of treatment. 


The History of the Disease

This disease was originally outlined by Doctor Alois Alzheimer in 1906 ad, therefore named after this researcher. The facts show that the disease occurred in a patient Auguste D., who experienced memory detriment, persecution complex, and psychologic alterations. It is important to mention that Doctor Alzheimer noticed in the necropsy the fact that there was a serious shrinking around and in the brain’s nerve cells. The invention of the electron microscope in 1931 provided scientists with a possibility to analyze and research brain cells with a higher level of details, due to the fact that microscope permitted augmentation up to 1 million times. The process of Alzheimer’s disease investigation enhanced in 1968 when the researchers created cognitive measuring scales permitting to estimate injuries and approximate the receptivity of impaired brain tissues. Later in 1974, the Congress established the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which sustained the research on Alzheimer’s disease. This instituted stated to finance Alzheimer’s Disease Centers in 1984, creating a countrywide matrix for the disease research. In addition, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the initial disease medication known as Cognex in 1993. This medicine targeted memory detriment and insanity signs. Currently, there are a grand aggregate of five medicines appointed to medicate the disease. In addition, due to the fact that the former President of the U.S. Ronald Reagan announced that he was determined to have an Alzheimer’s disease in 1994. In fact, this led to a higher level of consciousness regarding the illness. The facts demonstrate that National Institute on Aging started a countrywide Alzheimer’s disease genetical research in order to optimistically define hazard genes responsible for the illness in 2003. This disease was acknowledged as the sixth principal death cause in the U.S. in 2010. Therefore, starting from 2011, President Barack Obama started to sign the countrywide Alzheimer’s Project Act, which equipped a countrywide conceptual and constitutional substructure in order sustain and finance the illness investigation. In addition, the Group of Eight Dementia Summit launched a multinational tentative in 2013 in order to combat the disease and discover a remedy by 2025. The history reveals that despite the fact that a lot of work and efforts have been dedicated to combat the illness, even more work should be done to fight it completely. Nevertheless, it is highly significant to reflect the previous history in order to be able to pursue to finance and sustain future research incentives.

The Origin of the Disease

The research demonstrates that the Alzheimer’s disease begins in a brain area outlined as the entorhinal cortex. One of the latest studies appears to be the first to demonstrate that the illness started particularly in the lateral entorhinal cortex, which is also defined as LEC. The lateral entorhinal cortex is regarded to be an admittance to the hippocampus, which performs a major function in the stabilization of long-range memory, together with other duties. The facts demonstrate that when the LEC is negatively impacted, other facets of the hippocampus will also be negatively influenced. Moreover, the study reveals that the LEC permits Alzheimer disease to disseminate to other locations of the cerebral cortex, especially the parietal cortex. Deteriorations in the above-mentioned brain center are believed to attribute for the complicacies in dimensional navigation and declination that numerous diseased persons express. This study also reveals why the disease begins in the LEC instead of other cerebral midpoints. The facts demonstrate that the generic concentration of tau protein turns this location into more receptive to damages from a specific amyloid precursor protein, which stands for a particular molecule connected with neurodegeneration. Thus, the scientists acknowledge that the LEC is specifically sensitive and defenseless to Alzheimer illness, as it typically agglomerates tau, which activates the LEC to the agglomeration of amyloid precursor protein. Thus, when these two proteins are combined, they can injure LEC’s neurons, preparing the possibility for Alzheimer’s disease development.

Symptoms of the Disease

The facts reveal that this illness direction is dissected into four stages, with a growing scheme of cognitive and functionary deterioration. The first stage is known as pre-dementia. In fact, the primary symptoms are frequently wrongly associated with stress or obsolescence. Generally speaking, profound neuropsychological tests might uncover medium cognitive complicacies up to eight years before an individual execute the clinical standard for diagnosing Alzheimer disease. Early symptoms can negatively impact the majority of compound diurnal living operations. In fact, the most evident detriment concerns short-range memory forfeiture, which reveals as complicacy in remembering newly acquired information and incapability to learn new data. Refined issues with the administrative duties of attention, projecting, ductility, and abstract thinking, or aggravations in semantic memory (memory of senses, and concept connections) appear as symptomatic of the early stages of this disease as well. Indifference can be observed at this stage, and sustains the most insistent neuropsychiatric signs during the whole course of the illness. Depressive signs, impatience, irascibility and lowered realization of subtle memory complicacies are also highly prevailing. This stage is frequently accounted as a transitive stage between typical aging and mental illness. 

The second stage is known as early one. This stage is characterized by the elevating detriment of educational functions and memory, which ultimately results to a definitive diagnosis. The main symptoms incorporate complicacies with language, administrative functions, reception (meaning agnosia), or implementation of movements (known as apraxia), which appear to be more protruding than memory issues. This disease does not influence all memory capabilities in an equal manner. Thus, older memories of the individual’s life (standing for the episodic memory), learned facts (standing for semantic memory), and implicit memory are less negatively impacted than new memories or facts. This stage is featured by language issues, which appear due to vocabulary contractions and lowered word smoothness, resulting in an overall attenuation of written and oral language. Nevertheless, the individual suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is typically able to communicate fundamental ideas in an adequate manner. The person is capable of executing fine motor tasks, but particular movement coordination and projecting complicacies are evident, but unobserved. 

The third stage is known as moderate. This stage presupposes that advancing decline ultimately impedes independence, meaning that person is incapable of performing the major part of typical daily routine operations. Speech adversities become apparent resulting from an incapacity to remember vocabulary, which provokes recurrent irregular word replacements. In addition, reading and writing capabilities are also increasingly bereaved. Complicated motor consistencies appear to be less concordant. This is a stage when memory issues become worse, while an individual might be unable to acknowledge and recognize close relatives. In addition, long-range memory, which has been untouched during the second phase, appears as attenuate. This is the time when behavioral and neuropsychiatric alterations become more predominant. Typical symptoms incorporate roaming, irascibility and instability, resulting in lamenting, flashes of unintentional aggression, or opposition to care-provision. The facts show that about 30 percent of people with Alzheimer disease evolve illusory misidentifications together with delusional signs. 

The last phase is known as advanced. This is a time when an individual completely depends on care-providers. Language capacity is diminished to plain phrases or even single words, ultimately resulting in absolute speech detriment. Regardless the detriment of verbal language capacities, people suffering from this disease can frequently comprehend and reimburse emotional signals. Despite the fact that aggressiveness might still be present, serious indifference and depletion appear to be much more common signs. Therefore, individuals suffering from the last stage of the disease will eventually not be capable of performing even the simplest duties independently, as the muscle multitude and mobility worsen to the state when they are confined to bed and incapable of feeding themselves. Death appears to be an external agent, coming from pressure ulcers infection or pneumonia.

Most Affected Age Groups

The facts show that approximately one individual out of twenty surpassing the age of 65 evolves the illness. Nevertheless, it is significant to mention that despite the fact that people demonstrate a tendency to appear as oblivious with the time, the general mass of people surpassing the age of 80 sustain as mentally alert. This presupposes that regardless the fact that the possibility of evolving Alzheimer’s illness elevates with age, elderly age does not actually provoke it. On the other hand, the new evidence demonstrates that age connected issues, including arteriosclerosis might appear as a crucial contributing factor. In addition, despite the fact that people currently demonstrate a trend to live longer, the quantity of individuals with Alzheimer’s illness will elevate. In regards with statistics, more than 5 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. This incorporates a roughly calculated 5 million people aged 65 and older and about 200,000 people under the stated age who demonstrate younger-start of Alzheimer’s disease.

Cure Breakthroughs and Alternative Methods

Currently there is no cure, which can actually stop the illness. Nevertheless, such drugs, as rivastigmine (Exelon), donepezil (Aricept), and galantamine (Reminyl) might assist in delaying the progress of symptoms connected with this illness. In addition, some drugs might assist in controlling behavioral signs, including insomnia, dismay, rambling, irritation, and doldrums. The treatment of these signs frequently makes people suffering from this disease more sedative, making their care much easier. Thus, the main five drugs, which are utilized to slow down the disease incorporate donepezil, galatamine, memantine, rivastigmine, and namzaric. The first cure together with rivastigmine are used at all disease stages, galatamine can be used trough mild to moderate phases, and memantine and namzaric are utilized through moderate to severe stages. The research reveals that donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine belong to cholinesterase inhibitors, which operate as means of decelerating the procedure, which degrades a primary neurotransmitter. On the other hand, memantine is known to be a “NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist”, which actually regulates the operations of glutamate, a crucial brain neurotransmitter incorporated in memory and learning. The research shows that fixture of glutamate to cell external locus receptors allows calcium entrance in the cell. The procedure appears highly essential for cell sign system, organism memory and learning. This drug assists in preventing the above-mentioned damaging nexus of occasions by partly obstructing the NMDA receptors.

Nevertheless, all of these drugs merely slow down the process, despite the fact that there is a requirement to research all potential causes of the disease, which later can be targeted by medical treatments, leading to disease stopping. 

One of the current researches conducted on mice and rats revealed that in case of Alzheimer’s disease, immune cells, which typically protect the brain, start to absorb a vital nutrient called arginine. It presupposes that when the process is impeded with a specific medicine, there appears a possibility to hinder the ‘plaques’ formulation in the brain, which is a main feature of the illness and ceased memory detriment. These findings are specifically encouraging as the function of the immune system in Alzheimer’s disease was absolutely obscure previously. The drug, which was utilized to impede the immune reaction to arginine is known as di-fluoro-methyl-ornithine (DFMO), and it is currently analyzed in drug tests for investigating it as a possible Alzheimer disease therapy. Regardless these promising trends, new treatments for Alzheimer disease appear to be slow to emerge. 

In fact, there are several alternative methods of treatment, including an increasing quantity of herbal means, dietary supplementations and “medical food”, which are believed to enhance memory and operate as therapies in delaying or preventing the illness and connected amentias. Nevertheless, the claims regarding the security and efficiency of these products, are grounded majorly on reviews, tradition and a comparatively small body of scientific researches. These products incorporate capprylic acid and coconut oil, coral calcium, omega-3-fatty acids, ginkgo biloba, etc. 

Caprylic acid is clinically tested as Ketasyn, and marketed as a “medical food”. It is known to be mean-chain triglyceride (fat) fabricated by elaborating coconut oil or palm kernel oil. It is actually believed that the ketone bodies obtained from caprylic acid might equip an additional or disjunctive energy source for brain cells, which cannot utilize glucose due to the Alzheimer’s disease. Glucose is known to be the main energy source for the brain. The evolvement of this cure was based on the evolvement of the chemically analogous Ketasyn, which was tested on 152 volunteers demonstrating gentle to moderate Alzheimer disease signs. The majority of these people were also consuming FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drugs demonstrated previously. This test revealed that people taking the cure performed better on memory tests and testing of general functioning on a contrary to those who took a placebo. These tests appear as too small to approve that a cure genuinely works. The manufacturer did not perform additional larger studies, known as Phase III tests enrolling several hundred to thousands of volunteers. Therefore, the cure is marketed as ‘medical food’, which does not require Phrase III testing or any other tests. This is a reason why “the Alzheimer’s Association Medical and Scientific Advisory Council has expressed concern that there is not enough evidence to assess the potential benefit of medical foods for Alzheimer’s disease”. 

Due to the fact that caprylic acid is expensive, a number of people suffering from the disease together with care-providers decided to replace it with coconut oil. A highly limited number of people have reported that coconut oil assisted individuals suffering from the illness. Nevertheless, there have never been any official trial analyzing the effectiveness of this kind of treatment, thus, there is not scientific evidence, which supports this opinion. 

Coral calcium supplementations are also seriously and heavily marketed as a helpful and beneficial cure for Alzheimer’s illness. This is a specific type of calcium carbonate declared to be taken from the shells of previously living organisms, which later created coral reefs. This supplement is different from ordinary calcium supplements merely in a fact that it incorporates wakes of some complementary minerals included in the shells by the metabolic activities of the animals that created these shells. Nevertheless, the Federal Trade Commission together with the Food and Drug Administration are known to have created numerous official complaints against the manufacturers and marketers of this products, as there is no appropriate or dependable academic evidence, which can support the overstated health declares, presupposing that the product claims appear to be illegal.

Ginkgo biloba is known to be a plant extract, which incorporates a number of constituents providing positive impact on brain cells and body in general. It is believed to have both anti-inflaming and antioxidant characteristics, which allows protecting cell membranes and regulating neurotransmitter functioning. This product has been utilized for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and presently is being applied in the EU in order to facilitate cognitive signs connected with numerous neurological diseases. Nevertheless, the results of a huge multicenter Phase III clinical test demonstrate that this product has the same impact as placebo in impeding or detaining the disease.

Finally, the high intake of omega-3s is connected to a possible lowering in risk of dementia or cognitive decline. Nevertheless, two studies conducted by Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease demonstrate different results for the possible benefits of this product. The first study incorporated participants with gentle to medium Alzheimer’s disease and revealed that omega-3s have the same influence as a placebo. The second study demonstrate patients who consume 900 milligrams of imega-3s on a daily basis revealed slightly better results concerning a computerized memory test on a contrary to a placebo-consuming group. Nevertheless, this test has been conducted by a manufacturer of the product. Thus, there is no sufficient evidence to recommend omega-3 fatty acids as a method to impede or treat Alzheimer’s disease.

The current paper analyzed Alzheimer’s disease, its history, symptoms, official treatment methods and alternative therapies. This disease was originally defined in 1906 and named after the doctor treating this case. Currently, mainly people aged as 65 and more are the most inclined to suffer from the illness. The symptoms are divided into 4 stages, while the last one makes a person incapable of moving, speaking, remembering things, or thinking in an appropriate manner. The current research demonstrates that official drugs cannot stop the disease, as they can merely slow down the progression. All of the alternative methods of treatment appear to be ineffective, as the majority of cases provide the same results as placebo treatment. In addition, alternative methods do not have sufficient scientific evidence, making them dangerous for health. 


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