What are the Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Despite years of studies and research, there seems to be no definitive answer why one person gets Alzheimer’s disease and another one doesn’t. No study has presented a definitive “cause” for Alzheimer’s Disease.
So far, only Older age and a gene variation have both been shown to create a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But those are the only two factors that have definitively shown such risk.
Many folks have guessed or put forth opinions about common causes for dementia. But for the medical world, opinions and guesses don’t count.
An article written by Health Day Reporter, Alan Mozes, at USNews states: “Although we are not dismissing the potential or important role that other major risk factors might play in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, at this time, with what we have currently, we cannot confirm any risk associations,” said study lead author Dr. Martha L. Daviglus, a professor of preventive medicine and medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
The subject arose when The U.S. National Institutes of Health convened a conference last spring to analyze 18 studies of potential risk factors, or possible causes of dementia such as poor eating habits, chronic illness, smoking or little exercise, and people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Almost every day there is some new food to avoid or herb to ingest to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Coffee was touted as a benefit to delay Alzheimer’s by one study but deemed a cause of Alzheimer’s only a few weeks later by a different study. As I write this blog, I’ve found myself recommending a diet or quoting a new study, only to reverse myself a few months later when a new study arrives and contradicts a previous one.
That’s how progress is made. Studies, Tests, Research, etc. I understand that. Yet progress is slow when it comes to people with Alzheimer’s or Dementia; it’s difficult to get a speedy and accurate diagnosis. And once diagnosed, there’s no sure-fire medication that can positively slow the symptoms. And all this as the enormity of the disease looms just over the horizon as the baby boomer generation ages.
“What we’re talking about here is something that is going to affect so many Americans in the years to come,” said one expert, Catherine Roe, an instructor in neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “In fact, there’s going to be an explosion in the next 50 years, because everyone is living longer in general,” she said.
An estimated 5.3 million Americans struggle with Alzheimer’s, a figure projected to grow as the country’s Baby Boomer population ages, the authors said. The disease is responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of dementia cases.
Roe agreed that “more quality research is needed,” but added that, “I don’t think it’s a worse situation than in any other field of research. This is difficult and challenging work. And it costs a lot of money at a time when there’s a funding crisis in science.”
Still, a sense of urgency should prevail, Roe said. “Today the Baby Boomers are starting to hit the age where Alzheimer’s comes into play,” she noted. “And it’s going to take a huge human toll and economic toll, if we don’t find a way to treat it or slow it down. So it’s very important that we do more and do it better.”
I think everyone who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Early Onset Alzheimer’s, or every caregiver who is caring for a family member or loved one all agree with that! It’s important that we do more and do it better for Alzheimer’s.