Alzheimer’s disease, an insidiously tragic illness of the brain, is incurable and ultimately fatal. Initially robbing people of their cognitive abilities, it then distorts their personality and erases memories, thus detaching them from relationships and a lifetime of accomplishments and experiences. Soon after it eliminates their cherished independence, before finally stripping away their very humanity, for human-beings cannot be human unless they have an identity upheld by dignity. Self image and ego die as sufferers regress to a state little better than zombies. Typically lasting seven years from diagnosis to death, it represents an enormous burden on family and finances. In a sad reflection on contemporary priorities, it is estimated that in 2013 Americans will spend around $16bn on medical care alone for its 80 million pet cats, while President Obama struggles to push the research budget for Alzheimer’s over half a billion in seeking a cure, or at least a respite, for its increasing number of victims.
Scientists are still trying to find the exact cause for Alzheimer’s. Two abnormal growths in the brain named “plaques” and “tangles” are considered to be the main cause of damage. Plaques are protein deposits that accumulate around brain cells, while tangles are protein deposits that accumulate inside brain cells. These are found in almost all human beings after a certain age; However, the density is much higher in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
In terms of risk age is the most critical factor. One out of eight people above the age of 65 suffer from this disease, while above the age of 85 almost half suffer. people who have a family history of Alzheimer’s are two to three times more susceptible to it. Studies also show that a severe head injury in the past can increase brain cell deterioration in a person, eventually leading to Alzheimer’s. However, it is possible to stave off the contagion. poor brain stimulation, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity were statistically the main culprits published in a 2011 report. Learning and education possibly does more than anything to prevent onset. Study is key because stimulating the brain builds neural networks. Thus the more education a person has the more likely they are to engage in stimulating brain activity. Of other modifiable risk factors, smoking weakens blood vessels and it affects blood flow to the brain, while people who are physically inactive have worse cognitive abilities and are more likely to develop dementia. People who suffer from depression have more than double the risk of developing dementia (possibly because they have or adopt poor lifestyle habits).
Another Factor that might prevent Alzheimer’s is Regular Sleep.
A sleep deprived brain is extremely susceptible to nerve cell damage.