Saturday, 6 January 2018

Quick Treatments And Diagnosis For Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer's disease  (AD) is a slowly progressive disease of the brain that is characterized by symptoms like impairment of memory and eventually by disturbances in reasoning, planning, language, and perception. The diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease should be based on a comprehensive examination that rules out other causes of dementia .


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Researchers are working to uncover as many aspects of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias as possible. Ninety percent of what we know about Alzheimer's has been discovered in the last 15 years. Some of the most remarkable progress has shed light on how Alzheimer's affects the brain. The hope is this better understanding will lead to new treatments. Many potential approaches are currently under investigation worldwide.
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Diagnosis
Alzheimer's disease can be diagnosed with complete accuracy only after death, when microscopic examination of the brain reveals the characteristic plaques and tangles. To help distinguish Alzheimer's disease from other causes of memory loss, doctors now typically rely on the following types of tests -

  • Mental status and neuropsychological testing : Your doctor may conduct a brief mental status test to assess your memory and other thinking skills. In addition, your doctor may suggest a more extensive assessment of your thinking and memory. Longer forms of neuropsychological testing may provide additional details about your mental function compared with others' of a similar age and education level.
  •  Lab tests : Blood tests may help your doctor rule out other potential causes of memory loss and confusion, such as thyroid disorders or vitamin Deficiencies. 
  •   Brain imaging : Images of the brain are now used chiefly to pinpoint visible abnormalities related to conditions other than Alzheimer's disease — such as strokes, trauma or tumors — that may cause cognitive change. New imaging applications — currently used primarily in major medical centers or in clinical trials — may enable doctors to detect specific brain changes caused by Alzheimer's.

Inflammatory brain changes related to Alzheimer's disease may occur as many as 20 years before onset of symptoms, according to new research - a finding that could pave the way for early interventions that could halt disease development.

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Treatments For Alzheimer's Disease

America's national plan sets out to improve the quality of care and support for people with Alzheimer's disease and their families.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease - the death of brain cells in the dementia cannot be halted or reversed.
There is, however, much backing for therapeutic interventions to help people live with Alzheimer's disease more ably. The management of Alzheimer's disease consists of medication based and non-medication based treatments. Two different classes of pharmaceuticals are approved by the FDA for treating Alzheimer's disease: cholinesterase inhibitors and partial glutamate antagonists.

Madications

Cholinesterase inhibitors : These drugs work by boosting levels of a cell-to-cell communication by providing a neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) that is depleted in the brain by Alzheimer's disease. The improvement is modest. Cholinesterase inhibitors can improve neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as agitation or depression, as well. Commonly prescribed cholinesterase inhibitors include donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Razadyne) and rivastigmine (Exelon). The main side effects of these drugs include diarrhea, nausea, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances. In people with cardiac conduction disorders, serious side effects may include a slow heart rate and heart block.

Memantine (Namenda) : This drug works in another brain cell communication network and slows the progression of symptoms with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease. It's sometimes used in combination with a cholinesterase inhibitor. Side effects may include constipation, dizziness and headache.

Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. One theory suggests that too much glutamate may be bad for the brain and cause deterioration of nerve cells. Memantine ( Namenda ) works by partially decreasing the effect of glutamate to activate nerve cells. Studies have demonstrated that some patients on memantine can care for themselves better than patients on sugar  pills (placebos). Memantine is approved for treatment of moderate and severe dementia, and studies did not show it was helpful in mild dementia. It is also possible to treat patients with both AchEs and memantine without loss of effectiveness of either medication or an increase in side effects.



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Author: Richard Smith