CogniFit's Science blog: Today is Alzheimer's Day - Let's Talk About It

Today is Alzheimer's Day - Let's Talk About It

Alzheimer’s disease is a serious neurological disorder which unfortunately can impact many parts of the brain and considerably affects our lives. It results in changes to a person’s memory, thoughts, and behaviors.

It is not yet altogether known why people develop Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed that genetics plays an important role in the likelihood of someone developing the disease but today we know that nutrition, physical activity and brain activity can have a big impact on the likelihood to develop Alzheimer's at a later stage.

In any case the manner is which Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain comes in part from the way in which electrical signals travels throughout the neural network. It also affects the function of the neurotransmitters and many other brain functions.

Over time the disease also annihilate many areas of the brain. It can significantly shrink the size of the brain and impacts the ability of the brain to properly function. The shrinkage of the brain is particularly severe on the hippocampus which is the area of the brain which affects memory. This is a key reason why many Alzheimer’s disease patients suffer from a significant loss of memory.

Other areas of the brain which can be impacted include the cortex which is the section which controls thinking, organizing and rational thought.

In the early stages of the disease, patients usually have trouble remembering things. As the disease progresses, they lose more of their ability to remember even simple things, places and people. They will tend to forget things which were second nature over most of their lifetime. Eventually they will completely forget close family and friends as well as lose the ability to perform even simple personal tasks like brushing their teeth, eating or maintaining their personal hygiene.

The disease affects a person’s ability to speak or comprehend the simplest of instructions. It has been found that the brain of people who suffer from AD also have formations of plaque present which impacts the ability of the brain cells to function properly. Over time it kills these cells which cause the brain to shrink and lose much of its function.

There are several diagnostic tests available which can help determine if a person is suffering from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. If this is so, there are a number of different treatments which can be applied to help slow down the progression of this disease.

Still, there is not yet a complete cure. However a number of drug treatments have been shown to help slow the progression and bring back some mental acuity. Brain fitness could as well help to prevent as it has been proven effective on mild cognitive impairment for exemple.

We believe that in today's Alzheimer's day what is very important is prevention. By having and living a healthier life, one can reduce its chance to get the disease at a later stage of life. When we know the terrible consequences this diseases has on individuals and their respective family, it is vital to take the necessary steps to prevent the disease for happening.