Published on: April 1, 2012
by Rita Watson for The Examiner
With recent studies focusing more attention on memory loss, there is concern among Baby Boomers. However, some hopeful news has been emerging on the important topic of brain amyloid (protein deposits).
ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2012) noted in reporting about amyloid beta in the brain of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease that although “there may not be a consensus as to whether the deposition contributes to the disease or is a consequence of the disease, there is agreement that it is not favored thermodynamically, meaning that something else is promoting the process.”
Interview with Dr. Knopman, Mayo Clinic
In an earlier interview with David Knopman, M.D., who is co-investigator at the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, he talked with me about amyloids and how amyloid imaging will change our view of what Alzheimer’s disease means when it is used to detect brain amyloid in people who have normal memory and thinking.
Dr. Knopman added: “In the past five years, it has become clear that the amyloid accumulation that represents Alzheimer’s disease begins as long as two decades before symptoms begin. While we thought of Alzheimer’s disease as a disorder of memory and thinking that showed certain changes in the brain, such as plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, we now think of Alzheimer’s disease as a condition that causes changes in brain chemistry and physiology for up to two decades before symptoms ever appear.”
The numbers of those affected
The question of “what about now” is being asked given the diligence of the Alzheimer’s Association reports. They noted: “An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Another American develops Alzheimer’s disease every 69 seconds” (www.alz.org/facts). Additionally, the report noted, there were about 15 million family members and friends acting as unpaid caregivers giving 17 billion hours of support.
As studies continue, in mouse models it has been found that “repeated stress triggers the production and accumulation of insoluble tau protein” according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. Their findings were published in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Although it’s great to celebrate the big achievements, it’s also important to celebrate the small wins.
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