Alzheimer's Disease Essay

Pages: 4 (1237 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
Treatment

No cure exists for Alzheimer's disease. However, research indicates that certain lifestyle factors can have a formidable impact in preventing the illness. Individuals who engage in regular physical activity are 50% less likely to develop the disease, a rate which increases to 60% for women who exercise (Peeke 2004: 8). Regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen has also been correlated with lower rates of the illness: a 35% reduction in the in one study. Maintaining a healthy weight; engaging in sustained mental activity; and eating many fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, and nuts have all been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer's. Diet and exercise, along with a low-dose aspirin regime, may reduce the risk because of their anti-inflammatory properties. "One study of elderly women showed that those who ate the most green, leafy and cruciferous vegetables (spinach, kale, and dark salad greens) had the thinking ability of slightly younger women than those who ate few of these vegetables" (Peeke 2004: 8).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Alzheimer's Disease: An Overview Disease Assignment

Consuming foods high in cholesterol have been linked to an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer's. "Several studies have been published during the last years linking diet with the development of Alzheimer's disease and dementia and especially too much cholesterol have been found to be particularly bad. This is probably because the brain is an organ that is especially rich in cholesterol and where cholesterol has many functions, and therefore is tightly regulated" (Hills 2009: 38). The gene the most common gene variant associated with Alzheimer's ApoE4 "is found in 15-20% of the population" and is involved in the metabolism of cholesterol (Hills 2009: 28). "Mice that had been genetically modified to mimic the effects of ApoE4 in humans" showed "an increase in phosphate groups attached to tau, a substance that forms the neurofibrillary tangles observed in Alzheimer's patients, which prevents the cells from functioning normally and eventually leads to their death. They also saw indications that cholesterol in food reduced levels of another brain substance, Arc, a protein involved in memory storage" (Hills 2009: 28). High blood pressure has also been linked to a greater likelihood of developing the illness.

These findings regarding cholesterol and dietary factors that can affect the progression of the illness confirm what scientists have long suspected, that Alzheimer's is not caused by either nature or nurture in most subjects, particularly late-onset subjects, but rather is the result of a combination of genetic and environmental influences. Although a healthy diet, exercise, and cognitive stimulation cannot prevent Alzheimer's, these practices can possibly counteract some genetic tendencies to develop the disorder. No drug treatments have been shown to consistently slow the progression of Alzheimer's in all patients. "There is no strong evidence that Folate (vitamin B6), vitamin B12, and vitamin E prevent AD or slows the disease once it occurs," and "high-quality studies have not shown that ginkgo biloba lowers the chance of developing dementia" (Jasmin 2010).

Conclusion

Alzheimer's remains a complex, multifactoral disease. Genetics and lifestyle factors both have an influence in its development, although the degree to which they cause a specific case of the illness may depend upon the individual. More research is required about how anti-inflammatory forces such as drug treatment, diet, and exercise, can mitigate environmental, causal factors.

References

Gwyther, L.P. (2004). Ask the expert: Common questions about Alzheimer's disease.

National Women's Health Report, 26(6), 7-7. Retrieved:

http://search.proquest.com/docview/236242441?accountid=10901

Harman, D. (2000). Alzheimer's disease: A hypothesis on pathogenesis. Age, 23(3), 147-161.

Retrieved: doi: 10.1007/s11357-000-0017-6

Hills, S. (2009). Alzheimer's disease. Network Journal, 16(10), 38-38. Retrieved:

http://search.proquest.com/docview/222652637?accountid=10901

Jasmin, Luc. (2011). Alzheimer's disease. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Retrieved: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001767/

Peeke, P. (2004). Lifestyle corner: Take… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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