Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Eye scan sheds new light on Alzheimer's disease

New research by Australian scientists has demonstrated that a quick, non-invasive eye scan can identify changes in the retina that could be used to diagnose Alzheimer's disease.

Neuroscience

Potential target for diabetes-associated Alzheimer's disease

Researchers have identified a protein that may contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's disease pathology in type-2 diabetes, reports a new study of male mice and human brain tissue. The research, published in JNeurosci, ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Alzheimer's drug also treats parasitic Chagas disease

The drugs currently used to treat Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease, have serious side effects and limited use in those with chronic disease. Now, researchers have reported in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases that ...

Medical research

Alzheimer's study: Electrostimulation to evoke vivid memories

Alzheimer's disease is one of the most dreaded diagnoses, and the fear is particularly acute among older people. This complex brain disorder, which usually affects older individuals, can cause many cognitive disabilities, ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Exercise could slow withering effects of Alzheimer's

Exercising several times a week may delay brain deterioration in people at high risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that scientists say merits further research to establish whether fitness can affect the progression ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Summit to tackle tricky problems of aging and dementia

Human life expectancy has more than doubled over the last century, and this sudden leap in longevity is triggering major shifts in our politics, economy and society—not to mention our personal health.

Medical research

No bones about it, this protein slows down fracture-healing

Broken bones are a bigger deal the older you are: even after they've healed, the bones of older people are weaker and more likely to re-fracture. And since more than 6 million Americans break a bone each year, figuring out ...

Neuroscience

AAN recommends people 65+ be screened yearly for memory problems

People with mild cognitive impairment have thinking and memory problems but usually do not know it because such problems are not severe enough to affect their daily activities. Yet mild cognitive impairment can be an early ...

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Alzheimer's disease (AD), also known in medical literature as Alzheimer disease, is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death. It was first described by German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer in 1906 and was named after him.

Most often, AD is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. In 2006, there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide. Alzheimer's is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

Although Alzheimer's disease develops differently for every individual, there are many common symptoms. Early symptoms are often mistakenly thought to be 'age-related' concerns, or manifestations of stress. In the early stages, the most common symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. When AD is suspected, the diagnosis is usually confirmed with tests that evaluate behaviour and thinking abilities, often followed by a brain scan if available.

As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, irritability and aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. As the sufferer declines they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Since the disease is different for each individual, predicting how it will affect the person is difficult. AD develops for an unknown and variable amount of time before becoming fully apparent, and it can progress undiagnosed for years. On average, the life expectancy following diagnosis is approximately seven years. Fewer than three percent of individuals live more than fourteen years after diagnosis.

The cause and progression of Alzheimer's disease are not well understood. Research indicates that the disease is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. Current treatments only help with the symptoms of the disease. There are no available treatments that stop or reverse the progression of the disease. As of 2012[update], more than 1000 clinical trials have been or are being conducted to find ways to treat the disease, but it is unknown if any of the tested treatments will work. Mental stimulation, exercise, and a balanced diet have been suggested as possible ways to delay symptoms in healthy older individuals, but they have not been proven as effective.

Because AD cannot be cured and is degenerative, the sufferer relies on others for assistance. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by the spouse or a close relative. Alzheimer's disease is known for placing a great burden on caregivers; the pressures can be wide-ranging, involving social, psychological, physical, and economic elements of the caregiver's life. In developed countries, AD is one of the most costly diseases to society.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA