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Why Alzheimer’s Disease Always Gets Worse

December 7, 2016

It is estimated that more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder. The disease slowly deteriorates a person’s memory and thinking capabilities. Eventually, he or she is unable to do basic daily tasks, like bathe, cook, eat, or speak.

Alzheimer’s disease affects each person differently in terms of symptoms and how quickly or slowly the disease progresses. It’s often difficult for family members and other caretakers to provide adequate care because often it ends up being a 24/7 job, and additional resources are needed.

Depending on the age at which someone is diagnosed, the time it takes for the disease to claim a person’s life can vary dramatically. It can take 3 to 4 years if the person is over 80 years old, but can last 10 years or longer if the person experiences an early-onset of the disease, such as at age 50.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

There is no specific known cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but researchers are working diligently to discover one. Out of the top 10 causes of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death that can’t be prevented, slowed, or cured. Genetics, family history, and age are common, inescapable risk factors. Other factors that could contribute to Alzheimer’s include avoidable, preventable, or environmental conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Studies have also shown that there may be a link between people who have suffered moderate to severe TBIs and a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (or other types of dementia) years after the injury. Though not all studies show this connection, we do know that suffering from a TBI can alter the brain’s chemistry. This change in chemistry can cause protein abnormalities in the brain, which are nearly impossible for the brain to fully recover from.

Brain protein abnormalities, like the ones seen in persons with Alzheimer’s disease, cause a loss of connections between nerve cells (also known as neurons) in the brain. These connections are very important because they are the way in which the brain communicates to different parts of the body and controls its functions. By losing these connections, the person slowly loses his or her ability to be themselves.

New Research into Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center have possibly made an advancement in the way doctors will treat future patients with Alzheimer’s disease. They found that an abnormality in the brain’s tau protein can spread from one neuron to another, which is how the disease gets progressively worse and worse, never better.

By learning more about tau and other brain protein abnormalities, neuroscientists can help make medical breakthroughs with the disease, limiting or stopping its effects. Recent studies and therapies have shown promising potential in a very small study group. Using existing Alzheimer’s drugs, strict dietary guides, brain stimulation, exercise, and sleep optimization, researchers and doctors see hopeful progress for future treatment options of the disease.

The Law Office of William D. Cook: Helping Traumatic Brain Injury Victims

If you or someone you love has received a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease after experiencing a traumatic brain injury in the past, you may have legal recourse. Contact the Law Office of William D. Cook, and we’ll make sure that your personal injury case gets the expert medical analysis and legal support it deserves.

We offer free consultations where we can discuss your legal options — including whether you may be entitled to compensation — and decide what your best course of action is moving forward. Call (800) 757-7757 or fill out our convenient online contact form today to schedule your free consultation.

References

About Alzheimer’s disease: Alzheimer’s basics. (n.d.). National Institute on Aging. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/topics/alzheimers-basics

Huffman, M. (2016 July 16). Scientists explain why Alzheimer’s disease always gets worse. Consumer Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/scientists-explain-why-alzheimers-disease-always-gets-worse-072216.html

Traumatic Brain Injury. (2016). Alzheimer’s Association. Retrieved from http://www.alz.org/dementia/traumatic-brain-injury-head-trauma-symptoms.asp#dementiaandinjury

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