alzheimer's association Essay

Submitted By andrewwey
Words: 1437
Pages: 6


Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and more than five million Americans suffer from this disease today ("Alzheimer's Facts and Figures"). Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that damages and eventually destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss, and other brain functions ("What We Know Today"). This awful type of dementia means certain death and currently there is no cure. Research funded by the Alzheimer’s Association has already led to the discovery of preventative actions and advancements in the science of Alzheimer’s—prolonging many lives. Along with funding research, the Alzheimer’s Association also uses its funds to provide caretakers and facilities to care for and support Alzheimer’s patients. It also promotes social education and the awareness of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association should receive funds to help with preventing and curing Alzheimer’s disease through research, to support and provide care for Alzheimer’s patients and family, and to promote social education and awareness of Alzheimer’s. Research funded by the Alzheimer’s Association has already made much leeway into causes and preventative actions to the Alzheimer’s disease, but needs more funding to make new findings and maybe even a cure to this disease. The Alzheimer’s Association funds studies that explore the influence of mental fitness, physical fitness, diet and environment. Alzheimer’s usually develops as a result of intricate connections among many factors, including age, environment and lifestyle, and genetics ("Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer's"). Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol have a much greater chance of getting Alzheimer’s. As much as 80 percent of people with Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular problems ("Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer's"). Research also shows that exercise may be a preventative action that can protect brain health through its benefits to the cardiovascular system, and its increase in the blood and oxygen flow to the brain ("Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer's"). The largest impact on brain health is diet. Evidence shows heart-healthy eating configurations, such as a diet with little red meat and an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats can help against this disease ("Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer's"). Other preventative actions people can take are to keep strong social connections and conduct mentally challenging leisure activities. Currently, there are five FDA approved drugs that treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and these drugs temporarily help memory and thinking problems, but don’t treat the primary causes of Alzheimer’s ("Treatment Horizon"). New drugs that are in development aim to modify the disease itself, by impacting one or more brain changes that Alzheimer’s causes. These modifications offer potential to slow or even cure Alzheimer’s disease ("Treatment Horizon"). Some of these new drugs prevent beta- amyloid fragments from clumping into plaques-- the prime suspect in damaging and killing nerve cells ("Treatment Horizon"). Researchers are also examining strategies to keep tau protein from collapsing and winding into tangles, another main suspect in damaging and killing nerve cells, and destroying a much needed cell transport system ("Treatment Horizon"). In addition to investigating experimental drugs many clinical trials include numerous testing of blood or spinal fluid and brain imaging studies. Researchers hope one day these techniques will help diagnose Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages and eventually offer better methods to treat Alzheimer’s ("Treatment Horizon"). Scientists have discovered a mutated gene involved in the immune system’s role interfering with the brain’s ability to prevent the buildup of plaque. When the gene is not mutated, white blood cells in the brain spring into action, eating and