Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is one of the leading causes for dementia. Dementia is defined as a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities, severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. Dr B Rajendran, Senior Consultant Neurologist, City Hospital, Kochi, gives a detailed account of this devastating neurological disorder.
The first case was recorded by German psychiatrist Dr Alois Alzheimer in 1901 in a patient he called Auguste D. Alzheimer’s disease comprises about 60% to 70% of all cases of dementia. Some of the other causes of dementia are vascular (due to multiple clots in the brain) and subdural haematoma (after head injury), thyroid hormone deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency (particularly in vegetarians), and certain tumours in the frontal lobe of the brain (for the lobes of the brain). Some of the conditions mentioned above are treatable, but Alzheimer’s disease is relentlessly progressive, and hence the importance of making proper diagnosis.
The human brain, weighing about 3 pounds, with 80 billion neurons (nerve cells) and constituting about 2% of the body weight, controls our entire body systems. It harmoniously controls our learning, thinking, hunger, movements, heart rate, respiration, sexual urge, etc. So, when the brain breaks down, the results are devastating.
Magnitude of the problem
Increasing age is a risk for developing AD. After 65 years of age, the risk of developing AD doubles every 5 years. A study by Dr Mathuranath P S and others done in Thiruvananthapuram documented that the incidence was 11.67 /1000 in the age of 55 to 65 years and higher for persons aged 65 and above.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
…………..(Read the full article in the February Issue of Safety Messenger Magazine 2016)