Alzheimer's Disease

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    ADavid Merrill, MD, Psychiatry, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    In normal healthy aging, there is a good metabolism of glucose in the brain. As Alzheimer's disease progresses, there are decreases in metabolism. This occurs in the temporal lobe and the parietal lobe as a typical pattern called hypometabolism.
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    ADavid Merrill, MD, Psychiatry, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    In Alzheimer's disease, memory-important regions like the hippocampus degenerate. The hippocampus is the seahorse-shaped medial temporal lobe structure that’s deep in the brain. There are also brainstem nuclei that involve neurotransmitters, like acetylcholine, norepinephrine and serotonin, which start to disappear. As the brain starts to change or degenerate with the disease process, shrinkage begins, especially in memory areas like the medial temporal lobe.
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    ADavid Merrill, MD, Psychiatry, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    Plaques and tangles, which are considered the hallmark of the neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease, are the accumulations of proteins. Plaques are extracellular beta-amyloid accumulations of protein. Tangles are inside the neurons -- they are the hyper-phosphorylated filaments of tau proteins.
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    ADavid Merrill, MD, Psychiatry, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    In 1906, a German neuropathologist and psychiatrist named Alois Alzheimer had a patient with a peculiar disease who initially presented with poor memory and some word-finding difficulties or language problems. The doctor continued to follow her, and over the years she became more and more confused and disoriented about things, and even started hallucinating. She was eventually placed in an institution, where she died. He called her condition presenile dementia, but his boss renamed the disorder after him. In any case, what Dr. Alzheimer did was analyze the brain and find plaques and tangles, which are now considered the hallmark of the pathology of the disease.
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    ADavid Reuben, MD, Geriatrics, answered on behalf of UCLA Health
    The third stage of Alzheimer’s disease is having the full-blown disease. Memory is impaired, and over a period of about 10 years, it virtually disappears. Agitation and aggression are also common. In about 80% of cases, people become agitated, even physically or verbally abusive.

    There are also non-cognitive symptoms -- things that don’t relate to memory -- in the third stage of Alzheimer's disease. These include psychotic symptoms such as; delusions, which occur in about 20% of those affected; and depressive symptoms, which occur in about 40%. Depression may also be a very early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
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    ADaniel G. Amen, MD, Psychiatry, answered
    What have we learned about Alzheimer's disease and the female brain?
    Alzheimer's Disease is more common in women than men. In this video,  Daniel Amen, MD, psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, discusses how you may be able to prevent the disease by focusing on risk factors at an early age.


    Unleash the Power of the Female Brain Special Offer
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    ANeal Barnard, MD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered
    How are metals like iron, copper and zinc connected to Alzheimer's disease?

    The amyloid plaque bundles found in Alzheimer's disease, which destroy the brain cells, have been shown to contain traces of metals like iron, copper and zinc. Watch Neal Barnard, MD, explain how these metals get ingested and the damage they cause.


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    AUCLA Health answered
    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common dementia in older people in America. It is believed that damage to the brain begins 10 to 20 years before the onset of dementia. With that knowledge in mind, it is now thought that addressing the disease at its earliest stages is key to staving off dementia. "Ultimately it will be easier to protect a healthy brain rather than try to repair the brain once damage sets in," says Gary Small, MD, director of the UCLA Center on Aging.
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    ADavid L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answered
    There has been enormous attention of late to the grim and genuinely frightening problem of Alzheimer’s disease. The problem is grim by its very nature -- there is little we contemplate with greater dread than the loss of our minds. The problem is frightening at the personal level because we feel vulnerable to this increasingly common condition we don’t know how to cure, and at the collective level, where estimates suggest it could cost the nation a trillion dollars annually by 2050. There is also the terrible burden on family members, who must face the high demands of care, compounded by the heart-wrenching loss of a loved one who is still there, yet already gone.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Many of us assume hearing loss is an inevitable part of life, but it’s actually the number one red flag you’re aging too fast and can be a sign of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. As you probably know, the brain has multiple “centers” that control different bodily functions: One part controls sight, another part controls smell, another stores memory, one controls hearing, and so on.
     
    One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the formation of plaques on the brain, located between nerve cells. These plaques cause neurons in the brain to stop functioning properly, making it unable to send all the signals it wants. As a result, your various brain centers begin to shut down. Thus the hearing center’s ceasing to function may be directly linked to the formation of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. To make matters worse, as hearing ability decreases, our ability to function in daily life decreases as well, contributing to further mental decline.
     
    While doctors don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s just yet, you can start protecting your hearing right now by taking 300 mg of magnesium a day. According to a recent study, oral magnesium treatment has been shown to reduce the incidence of temporary and permanent noise-induced hearing loss.
     
    Studies have also shown the benefits of keeping an active brain through reading or doing crossword puzzles or brain games. Break out an interesting book or finish that Sudoku puzzle. Your brain’s health depends on it!
    This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com