Because so much work is being done to understand and treat Alzheimer’s, there is often news regarding the many studies taking place. Just today, two different stories on Alzheimer’s studies were published, and although they were two different stories, with different causes and or findings, they both had one thing in common: We need to learn more about this disease.
- “Could Alzheimer’s Stem from Infections? It Makes Sense, Experts Say”
This article focuses on a study from a team at Harvard, and published today in the Science Translational Medicine Journal. If a person is infected by a virus or fungus which then gets to the brain, it has to pass through a membrane. This membrane can begin to leak as part of the aging process. In defense, the brain produces proteins to attack and form a sticky sort of cage. The invader dies but the cage holding it remains, leaving a plaque we know as Alzheimer’s. Just because a person has a brain infection, it doesn’t mean that they will later develop Alzheimer’s. Genetics seem to play a factor, as people with a gene called ApoE2 can sweep out the plaque, and those with ApoE4 have more difficulty.
- “Study identifies new Alzheimer’s risk factor in men”
This article discusses the Y chromosome, and how men over the age of 80 lose this chromosome. They call this the loss of Y, or LOY, and is the most common mutation in men. Researchers in that study, as reported in the American Journal of Human Genetics say this can be a biomarker. The study included more than 3,200 men with an average age of 73. Of those men, 17 percent had LOY in their blood cells and those who had already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s had a higher instance of LOY. But this too does not indicate that Alzheimer’s will develop, as some of these men lived well into their 90s without developing any symptoms. Chris Lau, a professor in the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco doesn’t think that this study helps determine why these men might be at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s. “Although informative, the study is preliminary in nature and only highlights the fact that the Y chromosome could serve important functions beyond male sex determination and sperm production,” said Lau, who was not involved in the study.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, work continues on finding one. Remember that there is help available through forums, support groups, educational programs and safety tools. Approved Home Health aides have received training in caring for people with Alzheimer’s, and they provide care that allows clients to remain in the home and offers relief to primary caregivers. Call today for your complimentary in-home nursing assessment at 941-870-8740.