Alzheimer’s Disease: 5 Things You Must Know

Monday, September 17, 2012 Stef dela Cruz 2 Comments

Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that leads to the impairment of one’s behavioral and mental functions. It usually has a long course, progressing over time.

Visual Association Test

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: This sample picture, derived from the Visual Association Test, helps differentiate dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease from that caused by other conditions.

In the previous article, I discussed the Cognitive Reserve Theory. In a nutshell: the more you pore over books, the better your chances of fending off dementia! This is good news, especially for me, because I love reading! (Shameless plug: visit the Manila International Book Fair if you want really good reads at really affordable prices. They offer books from almost all publishers at up to 80 percent off. Fully Booked, National Book Store, and Goodwill are offering their standard books at a 20 percent discount!)

Alzheimer’s Disease: Important Updates and Facts

But enough of my segue. Here are 5 things about Alzheimer’s disease you need to know, including new updates from recent studies.

  • Alzheimer’s disease has no cure. It will progress and become full-blown in time. There are drugs that can help delay the progression of this disease, but that’s all we have for now. (But is aging really a disease? Read to know more.)
  • This condition takes away what a person holds dear in his life. First, a person with Alzheimer’s disease forgets about things he has done recently. Then, the condition starts affecting memories earlier in his life. This explains why people with Alzheimer’s forget about their sons and daughters before they forget about their spouses. And in late stages, a person’s memory may regress all the way to childhood.
  • Other cognitive functions, such as language, motor, and social skills, also deteriorate progressively. A person with Alzheimer’s will “unlearn” skills previously acquired, skills that he usually takes for granted, such as buttoning a shirt, using the toilet, and even swallowing.
  • Both imaging and histopathological studies revealed that participants with higher education performed better mentally than subjects with a lower level of education. This was the case even when both groups exhibited the same degree of brain involvement. This finding was confirmed by the Multi-Institutional Research in Alzheimer's Genetic Epidemiology (MIRAGE Study), completed last 2009, which provided the same findings as Dr. Garibotto’s study on Alzheimer’s disease and education.
  • The quality of education – and not merely the quantity – can prove beneficial. This was suggested by a study done at the University of Pennsylvania, published this year in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. A person who reads more efficiently than his peer of the same educational background will fare better if both of them get Alzheimer’s disease.

Yes, everybody knows that knowledge is power and that education is the one tool that can greatly increase one’s knowledge. But who would have known that studying well is akin to keeping a youthful memory?

Lesson of the story: when in school, pay attention – your mind will thank you later. And now that you know the role of education on preventing Alzheimer’s disease, spread the news. And tweet or share this on Facebook if you wish. Smile

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and a cat welfare column in The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene. Add her to your circles.

2 comments:

  1. Hi steph

    The last things about Alzheimer’s disease you need to know:
    to my opinion:

    The french general practionner is a family doktor, and have to learn HOW to cure the unavoidable spouse's burn out & depression

    clem

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great suggestion! I've written about caregiver burnout before and how so many loved ones are too afraid to admit that they're just TIRED and burnt out. I believe there are even more Filipinos who won't admit to caregiver fatigue because they think it's wrong to feel burnt out from caring for a loved one.

    ReplyDelete

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