Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

The article explores the reasons why Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) still baffles scientists today as it did when it was first described, current medical thinking on pathogenesis and perhaps most relevant for patients and their families, why effective treatments or indeed a cure still remains so elusive. AD is the most common form of dementia. It is a degenerative, incurable and terminal disease. It is the most common form of senile dementia and along with cerebrovascular disorders, the leading cause of dementia in out population. AD is classified not early-onset (<65yrs), late-onset/sporadic AD and familial AD. Recent experiments in mice have added weight to the idea that AD is driven by an infection-like spread of protein aggregates in the brain. One of the first modern theories about AD was that it was like a weakly-transmissible prion disease. There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of AD (on a cellular level) which translates to an ability to transmit an abnormal conformation.

This is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins, a major constituent of the plaques that has long characterised the ‘signature’ pathological lesions of AD. Other theories under discussion include oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, genetic studies, inflammation & immune mechanisms, cerebrovascular events and other risk factors. AD presents a unique problem to an ageing society, not only in terms of cost regarding care but also in progressing towards effective treatments that can halt the advancement of the disease or better still, reverse the damage in or to provide a notable quality of life for as long as possible.

There is a plethora of questions that will continue to dominate until sufficient progress an be made on the very nature of AD, its pathogenesis and importantly for patients and their families, treatments or perhaps even a cure which may seem to be a long way off at this present time.

Read the full article¬†here: Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Primary Health Care 2013; 23(6): 32-38

Primary Health Care Journal is a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) publication.rcnpublishing