Lat disease of Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and accounts for about 50-60% of casesin prevalence of women. The Report ofWorld Health Organization of 2021 it is relevant as a whole 55 million people with a diagnosis of dementiaintended for become 78 million by 2030 And 139 million in the 2050. One person every 3 seconds gets dementia, which costs a total 1300 million dollars per year with growth rates in the future. Many patients still they do not receive a diagnosisin particular the half of the sick in high-income countries And one in ten in the Low-income countries. Raising awareness of the disease and fighting the stigma that affects patients with dementia is the goal.
Why do you get sick?
There dementia it’s a degenerative process affecting the brain cells. It causes the progressive alteration of some functions, including memory, thought, reasoning, language and orientation. In affected patients, nerve cell loss is observed in areas of the brain vital to memory and other cognitive functions. There is also a low level of chemicals, such as acetylcholinewhich work as neurotransmitters and are involved in communication between nerve cells.
This pathology follows the curve aging, but early manifestations are not excluded. «Fronto-temporal dementias – he says Antonio Guaitadirector of the Golci Cenci Foundation – «they can also strike patients aged 50-60“. The general trend, however, compared with previous decadesreveals one decrease in incidence of Alzheimer’s disease on the population: «This given it concerns only developed countries»- he underlines -« and it could depend, as emerges from the studies carried out, on education and improvement general living conditions“.
Prevention: how important is it?
Very very much. The usual rules to follow for to live better they have an amazing protective effect also about this disease. «In adulthood it is essential to control the cardiovascular health»- he explains -« in particular hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and the sedentary lifestyle that favor the neuroinflammation“. After 75 years some of these elements they affect less: “They become important not so much the things to delete but those to do»- he continues -« as the physical and psycho-social activities“. Experimental studies confirm the potentiating influence of physical activities but only under certain conditions: «May they be done nicely»- he remarks -« if they are source of stress do not help us. Walking and cleaning, with the same amount of calories spent, do not have the same protective effect ».
What about the diet?
Overestimate it can be wrong. Completely eliminating the pleasures of the table makes no sense for Alzheimer’s disease: «It’s enough follow the Mediterranean diet, the only one certified by science – he explains – which contemplates the consumption of fruit, vegetables, cereals and the consumption of red meat in a prudent measure ». Also an glass of wine, coffee in small doses, half a kilo of olive oil per month, almonds and walnuts I am benefits for health: «All the trials in which we tried to introduce only one antioxidant element prevalent are losers»- he underlines -« the nature rewards always balance“.
What does diagnosis mean?
There is no specific exam to determine Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnostic path it includes the collection of personal and family clinical history, the assessment of mental status, neurological, laboratory and instrumental tests, finally a neuropsychological and psychiatric evaluation. During the first stage of the disease, they are prevalent memory and speech disorders, the patient can become repetitive in expressing himself, tends to lose objects, get lost and never find his way home. He can also reveal emotional imbalances and unpredictable reactions. In the intermediate phase he manifests delusions and hallucinations while in the last completely loses autonomy. The patient stops eating, does not communicate and becomes incontinent, is confined to bed or in a wheelchair. There duration of the disease is estimated approx 8-10 years.
Patients still have le therapies from 25 years ago, that is, symptomatic drugs with limited action to modify the decreasing curve of cognitive abilities. THE early drugs clinically approved for the treatment of the disease, able to prevent the degeneration of the neurotransmitter (acetylcholinoesterase inhibitors) They were approved in Italy in 2000. In the 2003 the memantine which has the function of blocking the glutamate. Research for Alzheimer’s disease is currently experiencing a great excitement. In particular, numerous monoclonal antibody studies have flourished Ducanomab which should remove beta-miloid protein from the brain: “However, they did not bring the expected clinical results” – he says – “other working groups instead they focus on understanding the mechanisms of inflammatory reactions in the brainto increase the resistence to certain toxic stimuli“.
What will happen in the future?
The search is making great strides and aims to find all biological indicators which establish the likelihood of developing the disease Alzheimer’s: “This is important to intervene early, before the damage is established” – he says – “soon a blood test will be enough to have this precious information.” In any case, it is not enough to identify the match that burns the forest to put out the fire: “It is essential to invest much more in prevention and control of risk factors»- he explains -« they are simple and often underestimated actions ». Applied, they would reduce by 40% the number of diagnosis: “If we had a similar drug it would make fortune and the Noel prize for those who invent it” – he concludes – “the adults they have to convince themselves that the health is a long-term asset“.
World day: the initiatives
Six characters of the entertainment world, Mara Maionchi, Daniela Poggi, Lorenzo Baglioni, Rossella Brescia, Riccardo Fogli And Valeria Fabrizithey created together with Alzheimer Federation Italy And Alzheimer Milan a video of advice with small but precious precautions for interacting with people affected by dementia. The goal is to raise awareness among the population a become friends with people with dementiacommitting to build a more inclusive society for all those living with the disease. The video is part of the larger campaign #do not forget (nontiscordare.org).
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