Is it possible to replace the neurons that have been destroyed by plaques and tangles? If not, then seeking a cure for Alzheimer's disease in terms of returning the person to his/her normal state of health is not possible. Once the brain cells are dead they cannot be replaced. Thus, research should focus on early identification, diagnosis, prevention, and slowing the progress of the disease. Are my comments accurate? [ 04/23/12 ]
I think you could look at this problem a little differently. Although current approaches do not "cure" Alzheimer's disease by reviving neurons, they have some symptom-alleviating effects. They could be considered palliative. But in the future, perhaps there will be therapies that allow stimulation of new brain cell growth or at least growth of new synaptic connections that compensate for the loss of destroyed neurons. I certainly agree with your view that current research should pay a lot of attention to prevention and early recognition as well as finding additional ways to reduce symptoms and, if possible, affect the course of the disease.
My dad is 78 years old and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He sleeps most of the day, and says that he has pressure on his head, is unable to think clearly, and cannot pick his head up off the pillow. Are these common symptoms of this disease? [ 03/26/12 ]
Headaches, including migraines, are reported by patients with Alzheimer's disease but whether the rate is greater than among patients who do not have this neurological disorder has not been determined. Although the accepted answer to this question is that there is no established connection between Alzheimer's and headaches, some researchers have found increased headache prevalence among people who have a particular familial Alzheimer's disease gene, called PSEN1.
Possible explanations for headaches in Alzheimer's patients include cerebral inflammation, issues with blood pressure, vision problems, and medication side effects, each of which can be treatable causes of headaches.
My dad is 76 years old and my mother is his primary care taker. He no longer wants to leave the house for any reason. He will go to certain doctor appointments only if forced. Otherwise, he just wants to sit on the couch all day and stay home. Is this common? [ 03/26/12 ]
It is increasingly stressful and challenging for patients with dementia to go out into the world, where they may have to face uncomfortable and overwhelming stimulation. Readiness to go out requires encouragement, regular practice, and activities that are not over-stimulating.
I have been reading that new stem cell therapies have been created specifically for Alzheimer’s disease. I was wondering if this was true and if so, which hospitals offer this treatment. [ 03/26/12 ]
Stem cell research holds great promise for learning about the mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease, and scientists have hope that stem cells may help us learn new ways to understand and fight this terrible disease. As of yet, however, there are no stem cell therapies available and patients cannot obtain stem cells as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease. To learn more about stem cell therapies, please visit the website of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
My mother has Alzheimer's disease and has the ApoE4 gene. Does Namenda or the patch work just as well in people who have the ApoE4 gene? [ 03/26/12 ]
There is some research to suggest that there are less favorable responses to conventional cognitive enhancers in Alzheimer's disease patients who have the ApoE4 gene.
How can you tell if someone is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s disease? [ 02/13/12 ]
The earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease, according to the National Institute on Aging, are characterized by brain accumulation of beta amyloid without obvious behavioral or cognitive changes. The earliest cognitive changes, detectable only on careful neuropsychological testing, may be subtle changes in memory storage. When Alzheimer's disease produces actual cognitive changes, some of the first ones are non-diagnostic (that is, they could just be signs of normal aging). The affected person feels like he or she is not remembering things as well as as they used to, but nobody else notices. The next stage in progression toward Alzheimer's, is “mild cognitive impairment,” and at that point the memory difficulties start to attract others' attention. The affected person has trouble recalling words or names, performing complex tasks, remembering what he or she has read, or planning and organizing things. This usually, but not always, progresses to Alzheimer's disease, which in its mild phase is noticeable to friends and family and even to people who did not previously know the patient. Early-stage Alzheimer's disease includes more obvious cognitive changes including forgetting significant recent events, and having greater difficulty with complex tasks such as calculating the tip in a restaurant or balancing the checkbook and paying bills. Emotional changes such as those seen in depression may also be more apparent at this stage.
I’m a pastor and deal with parishioners who have diseases, so I wish to be well informed. Also, I do a fair amount of medical study for personal understanding. I've studied blood types and certain characteristics associated with them. Is there any research indicating that any particular blood type is more associated with the Alzheimer’s disease? Researchers and clinicians (as well as patients and their families) have become much more interested in “biomarkers” recently. Biomarkers are biologically demonstrable physical characteristics that are associated with such things as increased disease risk. In Alzheimer’s disease, biomarkers are associated both with amyloid accumulation and with neuronal destruction. At this juncture, however, the ABO system of blood typing has not been found to predict risk for Alzheimer’s disease. [ 02/10/12 ]
Researchers and clinicians (as well as patients and their families) have become much more interested in “biomarkers” recently. Biomarkers are biologically demonstrable physical characteristics that are associated with such things as increased disease risk. In Alzheimer's disease, biomarkers are associated both with amyloid accumulation and with neuronal destruction. At this juncture, however, the ABO system of blood typing has not been found to predict risk for Alzheimer's disease.
I am 48 years old and have had symptoms of throbbing, tension, stress, and a gripping tightness inside my head or brain for the past 25 years. The feeling is like a balloon or rubber tube trying to expand or tighten. I have consulted several psychologists and neurologists, and recently had an MRI scan. No physical problem has been diagnosed. I also have difficulties in concentration and remembering things. I would appreciate if you could advise me. [ 12/23/11 ]
Seeking an explanation of these distressing feelings for 25 years must have been an extremely frustrating experience. I don't think I can provide the definitive answer you've been looking for, but I can suggest a course of action. There are many things that can contribute to the symptoms that you have been experiencing; however, they appear to be consistent with an anxiety condition. Over the years, I'm sure you have noticed various things that make it better or worse, such as sleep, caffeine, exercise or stress, and if you haven't already done this you might make a careful list of the factors that affect your symptoms. Then, find a doctor who has expertise in treating anxiety disorders. The assessment of your symptoms will include consideration of atypical headaches, focal seizures, nutritional deficiencies, toxicities, and sleep disorders among other problems. If, after a thorough evaluation, it seems that anxiety is the most probable explanation, you may be given medication and encouragement to participate in cognitive/behavioral psychotherapy. Don't give up—there is probably a clinician who can help you feel better!