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Has Someone with Alzheimer Forgotten You Lately?

Updated on November 4, 2016

Alzheimer Can Make You Forget Everything in One Go

Alzheimer is the cleverest thief, because she not only steals from you, but she steals the very thing you need to remember what's been stolen.” ~ Jarod Kintz

With time, Allie’s world turned to gibberish. Noah was trying his level best to bring back his love’s memory for at least a moment. He never failed to read his diary to Allie, in the hope that one day she would recognize him. He succeeded when Allie had a moment of clarity and she recognized Noah, but his happiness didn’t last for long, since Allie quickly lapsed into her state of forgetfulness. She got confused and started yelling. This is the plot of the 2004 romantic movie, The Notebook, starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling. Allie suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which made her forget her husband, children and grandchildren.

A brain with Alzheimer disease is significantly different from a normal brain, leading to problems like inability to recognize loved ones. A normal brain is made up of 100 billion cells, called neurons, and neurotransmitters pass signals between them for us to function normally. In an Alzheimer’s brain, the electric signals and the activity of neurotransmitters is disrupted, along with a growth in fluid filled spaces. The information is well illustrated in an article in The Times of India, published in September 2016.

Alzheimer is Deadly but Controllable

Apart from these fictitious characters, there are some real life personalities who have suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetime. The famous American actress, Rita Hayworth, was one such personality. This gorgeous “love goddess” was best known for her role in classic movie, Gilda.

According to an article in The Indian Express, published in September 2016, in India, around 3.7 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and the number is expected to double by 2030. Nearly 70% of the women over the age of 60 years carry the burden of this disorder. It is believed that memory loss doesn’t takes places because you’re getting old but because you stop exercising your brain. The solution is to stay active as much as possible by participating in activities that keep your mind and body active.

A leading neurologist in Bangalore suggested donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine, which are cholinesterase inhibitors, as prominent drugs in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. These medications helps to maintain the acetylcholine level in the brain. Another drug, memantine, which is an NMDA receptor antagonist, protects brain cells by blocking the effects of increased glutamate because of the damaged brain cells.

New Strategy to Prevent Alzheimer

According to an article in The Indian Express, published in October 2016, a recent study by Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the US, revealed that taking a pill that could prevent the accumulation of toxic molecules in the brain might be able to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers noted that some proteins could prove to be toxic if they accumulated in the brain. For instance, proteins like Tau make the brain vulnerable to deterioration. Therefore, studies are ongoing to discover whether a drug treatment can be developed that prevents or reduces the accumulation of Tau.

Not only is Alzheimer’s a memory-related disorder, but physical activity, an inseparable part of anybody’s overall body wellness, is also impacted. In Bangalore, neurologists have been working on engaging patients in cardiovascular exercise because they have found that such effortless exercises increase the heart rate, therefore increasing blood flow through the body and to the brain. This provides extra nourishment, reducing the chances of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are potential risk factors for Alzheimer’s.

Take up physical activities like walking, dancing and golf that may engage you socially as well as mentally. You can ask a friend to join you. But it is always advisable to consult a doctor before starting any new health and exercise regimen.

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