The Latest Surprising Facts About Alzheimer’s

The Latest Surprising Facts About Alzheimer’s

The latest surprising facts about Alzheimer’s are changing the way scientists are thinking about what causes the disease.

Surprising facts about Alzheimer’s are surfacing nearly every day, it seems. Take, for instance, amyloid plaques: they’re at the heart of scientists’ hypotheses about what causes Alzheimer’s, and the focus of research is on removing them as an effective treatment option and hopefully, one day, a cure.

Yet a research study led by the University of Cincinnati and in cooperation with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden is turning this thinking upside down. Alberto Espay, the study’s senior author and professor of neurology at UC, shares, “It’s not the plaques that are causing impaired cognition. Amyloid plaques are a consequence, not a cause.”

If Not Amyloid Plaques, Then What?

Espay and the UC team believe the focus should instead shift to the decline in soluble amyloid-beta peptide, and not the resulting accumulation of amyloid plaques. These findings are based on the brain scans and spinal fluid tests on hundreds of participants, all of whom have amyloid plaques. In comparing the amount of plaques and peptide, participants with higher levels of peptide were the ones with normal cognitive functioning – regardless of plaque levels.

As a matter of fact, more than ½ of all adults age 85 and older have developed amyloid plaques – but only as few as one in ten of them go on to develop dementia.

Further research is ongoing, including tests on animal models. Based on the outcome of these tests, treatment options aimed at increasing the soluble version of the protein and preventing it from hardening into plaques could be the next step in solving the Alzheimer’s puzzle.

At Hired Hands Homecare, our specially trained dementia care experts are compassionate, skilled, and experienced in helping individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and the family members who love them, to enjoy a more peaceful and fulfilling way of life. We accomplish this by effectively managing the changing and challenging behaviors associated with the disease, including:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Hallucinations
  • Wandering
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Sundowning
  • And many others

We also help older adults with Alzheimer’s to build upon their strengths, celebrate successes, and find purpose and meaning in each day, while helping with improving memory and cognitive functioning. Family caregivers benefit as well with safe, reliable respite care services, allowing them to take regular breaks from care to tend to their own needs. This is crucial for the health and wellbeing of both family members and the older adults with dementia for whom they provide care.

Contact Hired Hands Homecare at (866) 940-4343 to request some additional dementia care resources, to allow us to answer any questions you may have, and to schedule your free in-home consultation. Our dementia care team is available to help seniors throughout Marin, Sonoma, Napa counties, and the Tri-Valley.

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