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Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease - By Felicia

Note: Even though COVID-19 is still raging on, other diseases still exist. As the CEO Author, I believe it is important to write about everything, including Alzheimer’s. Let’s get started!

The brain is a remarkable object. It has 100 billion neurons and 10 to 50 times more glial cells. It does everything for you: it controls your breathing, your thoughts, your muscles, pretty much everything in your body! Yet, it never sees the light, not even once in its whole lifetime. Even without light, it shines bright and solves problems every day. 

But sometimes, the stars start to flicker, and the lights go dim. Eventually, energy wastes away into emptiness. For too many people - the 50 million worldwide and the more than 5 million in the US - this is how life comes to an end.

This disease has existed for pretty much as long as there has been a human species, but we never knew about it until recently. The decline of the brain was simply seen as a natural part of the human lifespan. Now, though, we know better: this is Alzheimer’s disease.

But if it’s not a natural part of the human lifespan, then what does cause it? Well, two proteins called beta-amyloid and tau clump together and form lumps and tangles, which disrupt connections from one neuron to another, mostly inside the hippocampus.

Also, scientists believe that for most people, Alzheimer's disease is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Less than 1 percent of the time, Alzheimer’s is caused by a specific genetic mutation that ensures that the person will get the disease.

Poor sleep can also be a cause of Alzheimer’s. The glymphatic system (the brain’s cleanup service) goes to work during sleep, sweeping out debris and toxins that build up during the day. Among the worst toxins are the beta-amyloid proteins that I mentioned before, and the less you sleep, the less time the glymphatic night shift has to do its work.

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and no treatment that can make it a long-term manageable condition like diabetes or HIV. However, what Dr. Alzheimer defined in the 20th century could, with work and with luck, be with us no more in the 21st.

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