Behind Alzheimer’s: The Latest in Disease Research
Alzheimer’s disease was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. It was originally called presenile dementia when first discovered in 1901. A female patient of Dr. Alzheimer’s had developed unusual short term memory loss. After she died in 1906, Alzheimer gave her brain to his colleague Emil Kraepelin to study. He found plaque and tangles in her brain. In 1910, Kraepelin renamed the disease Alzheimer’s. 5.1 million people currently suffer from this disease. Research for Alzheimer’s is in prevention, or lowering the odds and drug trials.
In France and Canada, researchers looked at 1800 patients over age 66 who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and were prescribed benzodiazepines. There were findings that benzodiazepines, which include Xanax and Valium taken over a three to six year period, had an increased 51 percent chance of getting Alzheimer’s compared to 7,000 healthy adults.
Increasing Vitamin D levels, particularly if you are 65 or over, can lower the risk of getting Alzheimer’s. If you are under 65 to 70, you will need 600 units of Vitamin D. If you are over 70, you will need 800 units of Vitamin D. Keeping your blood pressure in check, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and regular exercise can help lower the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there is no magic potion that will absolutely prevent the disease, but doctors and scientists are working on it.
Research in Alzheimer’s has been growing by leaps and bounds since the 1980’s, unfortunately it is incurable at the moment. Biomarkers is a blood test being used on healthy adults to see if they could get the disease in the next few years. Until there is something that can cure Alzheimer’s there are drugs available to manage and slow the progression of the disease. These drugs improve cognitive and behavior symptoms. Researchers and graduates with aging master’s degrees know people who are diagnosed with the disease today, may have had it for twenty years. The neurons that have since died, cannot be brought back to life.
Seventeen states are going to be involved in a study called TomorrowStudy.com that will study the mild forms of Alzheimer’s. People age 65 to 83 in good health are eligible. It will take place in fifty centers throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. The Alzheimer’s Association is also running a study. It’s called Trial Match and it is available through the Alz.org website.
Researchers are not done trying to find a cure, and might just find the answer soon. We need to keep hope alive and do all we can to prevent this devastating disease.
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