ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease of adulthood and aging.
Alzheimer's disease involves a progressive neuropathology
characterised by 2 key hallmarks at the microscopic level :
i. extracellular accumulation and deposits of the protein
peptide beta-amyloid (producing amyloid or 'senile' plaques),
ii. intracellular inclusions of the tau protein (producing
neurofibrillary tangles) within neurons of the brain.
Plaque and tangle formation leads to death and loss of neurons in the brain, resulting in global brain atrophy, which can be detected in brain scans.
Degeneration in the brain (in particular loss of neurons in the 'thinking areas' of the neocortex and hippocampus) results in the progressive symptoms of dementia - memory loss, confusion, disorientation, mood changes,
Progression of the mental and physical deterioration is relentless, leading to death 10 to 30 years after initial symptoms and diagnosis.
Alzheimer's disease is the commonest (~65%) cause of dementia. In rare cases it is known to be due to a single gene mutation and these genetic cases tend to be of younger age of onset ('presenile cementia), whereas the majority of cases of sporadic onset in old age ('senile dementia') are due to mixed genetic and lifestyle factors.
Alzheimer's disease affects approx. 1.6% of the total population, rising to sbout 1 in x of people over 65, and 1 in x of those over 80. With aging populations, Alzheimer's disease.
The European Commission has estimated that there are about 7.3 million people living with dementia across the EU, about 65% of these are attributed to Alzheimer's disease
This is a major economic burden on the health and wealth of all western societies, a situation which will only get worse as beneral improvements in health and healthcare leads to longer lifespans and a progressively ageing population.
There is currently no effective treatment or cure
It is only through high quality scientific research that we can hope:
to understand the causes of Alzheimer's disease,
to develop new medicines to halt its progression
to treat its worst symptoms,
to find a cure for those already affected,
to block its onset for future patients.
Support C.A.R.E. -- Give hope to patients and families blighted by this devastating disease.