4 Possible Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease  

4 Possible Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease  

Some believe that cancer will be eradicated before the mystery of Alzheimer’s disease is solved. This is a pathology that, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, is affecting 5 million Americans with an estimated 16 million to be diagnosed by 2050. It is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and has risen in mortality rates 89% since 2000 (heart disease deaths have decreased 14% since then). 1 in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease.

These sobering statistics have propelled researchers to do just about anything to combat Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, there are no medicines to cure or even slow progression only prescriptions to temporarily lessen symptoms such as memory loss and anxiety.

Going beyond a “fix it” medicine approach, researchers have also been discovering various outside-the-box cognitive triggers that could lead to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.

These 4 possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease are a small example of how researcher’s are broadening the scope of where this condition may originate to produce a cure or at least medical intervention.

Feline Fears

If you own a cat or are around one often there is a chance you could be susceptible to a parasite called toxoplasma gondii. This parasite is well known as mostly being a threat to those who are pregnant. However, new evidence shows it may be more serious than once thought.

Science Alert reports that,

“While the protozoan invader poses the greatest risk to developing fetuses infected in the womb, new research suggests the parasite could alter and amplify a range of neurological disorders, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and also cancer….a team of more than 30 researchers from 16 institutions assessed how T. gondii’s secreted proteins could impact the neural chemistry of human hosts, triggering changes in the brain that could lead to neurodegenerative diseases.”

Toxoplasma gondii is found in cat feces and raw meat. Most infections occur through continued handling of cat feces such as cleaning a litter box and not thoroughly washing one’s hands. The parasite is believed to have infected over two billion people worldwide. The results of several studies regarding this parasite and its affect on the brain suggest a serious global crisis when it comes to behavioral changes as a result of neurodegeneration.

Anti-Anxiety Meds

There is a particular class of anti-anxiety and insomnia drugs that may be linked to Alzheimer’s progression.  This class is called benzodiazepines, which include the highly prescribed drugs lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin). It is believed that continued use beyond the allotted three month safety period could show possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

As reported by Prevention,

“A study published in the British Medical Journal followed 1,796 Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease and 7,184 healthy controls for six years and found that taking benzodiazepines for more than three months was associated with up to a 51% increase in Alzheimer’s disease.”

It is recommended to try cognitive behavioral therapy which enables one to address anxiety or insomnia without the use of these powerful drugs.

Hitting Your Head

The University of Pittsburgh Brain and Spine Injury Program estimates that approximately 300,000 Americans suffer a sports related concussion each year. Most recover, however for some, the inflammation caused by the concussion may not “shut off.” As a result, cells in the brain called microglia remain in a pro-inflammatory state which, according to Brian Giunta, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Southern Florida, become unable to clear amyloid beta from the brain. Lack of proper removal of amyloid beta proteins has been highly linked to Alzheimer’s.

If you hit your head hard enough to render a concussion, check with your doctor to make sure your brain is not in a constant state of inflammation.

Don’t Isolate

As much as you may feel alone in the world and want to stay that way there is growing evidence that self-isolation may be another link to Alzheimer development.

A study by researchers in the Netherlands published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry “tested the association between social isolation (living alone, unmarried, without social support), feelings of loneliness and incident dementia in a cohort study among 2173 non-demented community-living older persons. Participants were followed for 3 years” concluding that,

“Feeling lonely rather than being alone is associated with an increased risk of clinical dementia in later life and can be considered a major risk factor that, independently of vascular disease, depression and other confounding factors, deserves clinical attention. Feelings of loneliness may signal a prodromal stage of dementia.”

Remaining social in any way you can may alleviate feelings of loneliness and possibly stave off early dementia. Join a club with people of similar interests, play group sports, or even become involved in a support group. These attempts may not only help stimulate your brain but also enhance your quality of life.

 

Until scientists can tackle this pathology, it is the prevalence of these 4 possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease which will hopefully give you a leg up on staying healthy. In addition, it is always recommended to follow a nutrition change now that may prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Try to follow more of a plant-based diet and avoid processed foods as well as vices such as alcohol and tobacco.

 

 

 

 

 



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