Since Dr. Alzheimer's identified the plagues that shrink the brain in 1906, there has been a slow but persistent drive toward research and cure of that particular type of brain damage. It has only been in the last few decades that government health systems have been able to break through the stigmas and barriers to research and funding.
There remains much to be done, but detection and treatment through many avenues such as with music, tests, technology, exercise and nutrition are all coming together to speed the process toward a cure.
One of the reasons for slow progress has been fear, reluctance to acknowledge the brain, other than to push research to the back burner and institutionalize those who could no longer live by themselves. For many years, many persons with dementia were placed in mental institutions, nursing homes, living on the street or treated with varying degrees of love or neglect at home.
Finding a cure is complex, because like all death threatening diseases, dementia has many causes and everyone is different in genetic and body/mind composition. In addition, dementia is many times linked with other diseases being a precursor or as a cause.
The types of dementia are also hard to diagnose due to symptoms that are similar or the same as another type. A lot may depend on the causes such as whether the tau protein or the neurotransmitter chemicals are affected.
Diabetes and Alzheimer's
According to Medical News Today (MNT), Interactions Between Two Molecules Thought To Play Critical Roles In Type II Diabetes And The Alzheimer's Disease, February 4, 2013, the 57th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society (BPS), was held Feb. 2-6, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa. A presentation of a study shows that two molecules that create beta amyloid plagues in the brain of persons with Alzheimer's was found in the pancreas of diabetic patients.
Mutated Genes and Alzheimer's
According to Health magazine, Alzheimer’s Tied to Mutation Harming Immune Response
By GINA KOLATA, Published: November 14, 2012, people with the mutated gene, known as TREM2, have a threefold to fivefold increase in the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age. According to William Thies, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association, "It points very specifically to a potential metabolic pathway that you could intervene in to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease."
Vascular Disease and Dementia
Most people don't realize that high cholesterol and trigycerides can lead to damage to blood vessels from atherosclerosis, infection, or other causes, such as an autoimmune disorder.
Damage to brain tissue caused when blocked or decreased blood flow due to a clot or shrinking blood vessels cuts off nutrition and oxygen to the brain.
In the John Hopkins Medicine Health Library, Vascular Dementia, facts are noted about Vascular Dementia and the causes. According to these researched facts, Multi-infact dementia or Vascular Cognitive Impairment occurs after several small blockages consistently affects the blood flow to a certain area of the brain. Gradually the build up starts to cause noticeable changes in the affected person.
Mixed Dementia with Vascular and Alzheimer's symptoms
Persons with Vascular Dementia, which involves blood flow restriction may also have tau protein damage that is associated with Alzheimer's.
Other dementia's are studied under the Alzheimer's research umbrella.
Alzheimer's is the fastest growing dementia and the general public still is not aware that the word dementia covers many memory loss diseases. Alzheimer's, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body disease and Parkinson's Dementia are some of the main cognitive impairment diseases that affect the world's population.
The pain and emotional damage that affect victims and the families are all devastating and no one is immune to the onslaught. Prevention is also being included in the studies for disease control researchers. Prevention is less expensive in all categories than treating the symptoms.