Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr Aparna Vijay Kumar
September 20, 2020

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Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory. Along with loss of short term memory, individuals develop loss of reasoning and thinking; as well as behaviour disturbances.

It is not just a disease of old age, though, it is often seen above 65 years of age. In less than 10% of cases, it is seen in patients between 40 to 60 years of age. It starts with difficulty in learning new things which shows impact on working memory, getting lost in familiar places followed by forgetting people, emotional and behavioural disturbances subsequently leading to a mute, bed bound state.

It is due to death of brain cells or neurons in memory area of the brain causing loss of connectivity with other neurons by the deposition of abnormal protein beta amyloid and tau. What causes this formation of protein is still under research. A combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors is implicated.

The presence of apolipoprotein gene (APOE ) increases the risk but neither all individuals with the gene develop the disease nor all individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have this gene. Presence of metabolic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea; diet and level of physical and mental activity also are implicated.

Diagnosis is only by clinical history and neurological examination. Imaging like SPECT, PET and MRI brain help in confirmation and ruling out treatable causes of dementia.

It is a slowly progressive disease with no cure as brain cells do not regenerate. Treatment with drugs aims at controlling the symptoms and slowing the progression by regulating the level of neurotransmitters or chemicals.

Care givers have a very challenging and important role in management of patients as caring of a person with Alzheimer’s disease causes physical and financial burden. Care givers also need support to cope up with the stress of handling their loved ones.

The take home message is that a healthy diet and regular exercise early on in life reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy diet and regular exercise also prevent life style diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and heart problems. Regular walking increases the level of a chemical brain derived neurotrophic factor( BNF) which potentiates memory.

A Mediterranean style of diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil has been shown to prevent the progression of disease in patients with minimal cognitive decline, a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. Diet rich in curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids and cocoa have proven benefits with vitamin B12,D, E  and folate supplements.

 

Dr Aparna Vijay Kumar Senior Neurologist, Citizens Specialty Hospital

Comments

S C Sharma
 - 
Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Very informative article explaining in simplest language.

rmangala raman
 - 
Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Highly informative beneficial and clearly simplified to reach common man. Thank you.

S.Bhagyam Sharma
 - 
Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Very good information thank you very much Dr Aparna

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Agencies
October 13,2020

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Washington, Oct 13: Facing a steady decline in usage over the last several years, Yahoo has made the decision to shut down Yahoo Groups from on December 15.

Verizon, which bought Yahoo in 2017, announced the decision on Tuesday which marks the end of the road for one of the largest message board systems on the Web of its time.

"Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years. Over that same period, we've witnessed unprecedented levels of engagement across our properties as customers seek out premium, trustworthy content," the company said in a message posted on the website.

"While these decisions are never easy, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business".

The Yahoo Groups service was launched in 2001 and could not complete against new platforms like Reddit, Google Groups and Facebook Groups.

On October 12, the creation of new groups will be disabled and on December 15, people will no longer be able to send and receive emails from Yahoo Groups.

The website will no longer be accessible too. Yahoo Mail will continue to function normally.

"The emails you have sent and received will remain in your email, though beginning December 15 messages will not be sent or received from your group members. If you try to email your group after December 15, your message will not be delivered and you will receive a failure notification," the company informed.

That US wireless communications service provider Verizon bought Yahoo's tottering internet business for a mere $4.8 billion in 2017.

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News Network
October 17,2020

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A panel of creditors to Jet Airways India Ltd. approved a resolution plan for the bankrupt airline, bringing a 16-month long process to recover dues to lenders closer to completion.

Jet Airways’ lenders accepted the plans submitted by Murari Lal Jalan and Florian Fritsch, the carrier said in a filing on Saturday. The airline didn’t provide any further details on the bidders or their proposal.

Once India’s largest carrier by the number of passengers, Jet Airways went into bankruptcy in 2019 after it failed to repay mounting debt, reflective of the nation’s struggling aviation sector.

The lenders approved the plan via e-voting, and the carrier’s resolution official will now seek to take the process forward in the bankruptcy court, the company said.

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Agencies
October 26,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 26: Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar has said that the convoy he was travelling in, was attacked and fired upon, late on Sunday night, when he was returning after addressing a rally in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. "Opposition parties have been terrified of our candidate in Bulandshahr elections and today's rally worried them, due to which my convoy was fired at in a cowardly manner. This shows their desperation... they want the atmosphere to be toxic but we will not let this happen," Chandra Shekhar Azad tweeted late on Sunday night.

Azad, who is also the convener of Azad Samaj Party, said his convoy was fired at when members were campaigning for the upcoming bye-election. It is not clear whether he himself was present during the incident since the Bhim Army chief was scheduled to address a rally in the district.

The incident comes days ahead of the November 3 Bulandshahr bye-election.

Bulandshahr Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Santosh Kumar Singh has denied an attack on Chandra Shekhar's convoy. The SSP said there was information about a mutual conflict between workers affiliated to the candidates of Azad Samaj Party and AIMIM. The police official said reports about an attack on Chandra Shekhar's convoy are yet to be confirmed.

The bye-polls in Uttar Pradesh for seven seats, including the Bulandshahr one, mark the political debut of the Bhim Army which has, till now, remained a quasi-political outfit.

Chandra Shekhar has named Haji Yamin as his party's candidate for the Bulandshahr bye-poll and his Azad Samaj Party is also contesting as many as 30 seats in Bihar under the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) banner, which will be led by the Jan Adhikar Party of Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav.

Chandra Shekhar has been a fierce critic of the Uttar Pradesh government over the alleged gang-rape and torture of a Dalit woman in Hathras last month, and its track record in protecting people from marginalised communities.

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