One of the great mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why it largely strikes older adults? Scientists are learning how age-related changes in the brain may harm neurons and affect other types of brain cells to contribute to Alzheimer’s damage. These age-related changes include atrophy (shrinkage) of certain parts of the brain, inflammation, vascular damage, production of unstable molecules, called free radicals, and mitochondrial dysfunction ( a breakdown of energy production with a cell). Research suggests that a host of factors beyond genetics may play a role in the development and course of Alzheimer’s disease. There is evidence that there is a relationship between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. A nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits have all been associated with helping people stay healthy as they age. These factors may also help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical trials are testing some of these possibilities.
WE WILL BE TAKING A LOOK AT SOME OF THE RISK FACTORS IN OUR UPCOMING POSTS, SO STAY TUNED. (THE MORE YOU HAVE, THE HIGHER YOUR RISK IS; HOWEVER, SOME OF THESE RISKS ARE MODIFIABLE)