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Alzheimer’s research is an ongoing task involving medical experts, researchers, and scientists. Experts estimate that approximately 5.1 million Americans over the age of 60 will be affected by the disease. Understanding what causes the disease is vital to finding ways to diagnose and combat it.
The disease was discovered by Doctor Alois Alzheimer in 1906. It was during the autopsy of an elderly woman who suffered from language problems, memory loss, and unpredictable behavior that he noticed abnormalities within her brain tissue. Odd clumps and tangles riddled her brain tissue. Dr. Alzheimer correlated the abnormalities with her behavior and discovered the disease.
As more research was undertaken, the odd clumps and tangles were identified as Amyloid Plaques and Neurofibrillary Tangles. These two features alongside loss of connectors between brain neurons are responsible for the outward symptoms that we today know as Alzheimer’s Disease.
Research of the exact cause of the formation of these features is still ongoing. Leading experts believe that as the brain ages, these formations occur. The exact reason is still a mystery. Most affected individuals are over the age of 60, but a small percentile is affected as early as their 30s.
Alzheimer’s research has uncovered a practical means of reducing your risk of developing the disease. You can control your lifestyle and environment. Maintaining a nutritious diet and exercise routine, as well as engaging in social activities and always seeking mental stimulation have all reduced the risk of developing the ailment.
Research indicates that in some cases genetics are the cause of the disease. Scientists have yet to pinpoint an exact genetic mutation or defect that causes development of Alzheimer’s. However, individuals who inherit the APOE gene are 40 percent more likely to eventually develop the disease. Interesting, those taking control of their lifestyle and environment have been documented to develop the disease less rapidlyeven to the point of never experience the third and final stage of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s research is an ongoing mission. Since the discovering of the disease in 1906, more effective diagnosis methods have been discovered. Medical experts are confident that as our ability to diagnose the disease increase, research will continue to glean useful results to pinpointing causes and treatments.