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Alzheimer's Disease Information

  • Alzheimer's disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease, is the most common cause of dementia and characterized clinically by progressive cognitive deterioration together with declining activities of daily living and neuropsychiatric symptoms or behavioral changes. The most striking early symptom is memory loss (amnesia), usually manifests as minor forgetfulness that becomes steadily more pronounced with illness progression, with relative preservation of older memories...
  • As the disorder progresses, cognitive (intellectual) impairment extends to the domains of language (aphasia), skilled movements (apraxia), recognition (agnosia) and those functions (such as decision-making and planning) closely related to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain as they become disconnected from the limbic system, reflecting extension of the underlying pathological process. This consists principally of neuronal (cell) loss (or atrophy), together with an inflammatory response to the deposition of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Genetic factors are known to be important, and autosomal dominant mutations (variations) in three different genes - Presenilin 1, Presenilin 2, and Amyloid Precursor Protein - have been identified that account for a small number of cases of familial, early-onset AD. For late onset AD (LOAD), only one susceptibility gene has so far been identified - the epsilon 4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E gene. Age of onset itself has a heritability of around 50%.

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Health Blogs

A new blood test may be 90% accurate at predicting whether someone will develop Alzheimer's disease within the next three years. Researchers at Georgetown University tested the blood of 525 people over the age of 70 over a period of five years. They then compared the results of 53 people who developed Alzheimer's or cognitive impairment with ... Read More »
A brief at-home test newly designed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center may be able to detect early signs of dementia. The test, which can be self-administered with just a pen and paper, takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and can be scored by a physician. Called the Self-Administered Gerocognitive ... Read More »
Brief periods of cognitive training in areas such as memory, reasoning and speed-of-processing may significantly improve cognitive ability and daily functioning for seniors, according to a new study. The Washington Post reports that the large-scale trial, which is the nation's largest on the effects of cognitive training, could lead to a ... Read More »

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Michael T Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

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