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Cases of Alzheimer’s disease expected to double by 2020

Alzheimer’s does not only affect memory, behavior, and thinking; it can incapacitate a patient that may even lead to death.

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A new forecast from the University of California Los Angeles calculated that about 50 million Americans could be suffering from the early onset leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Keith Fargo of the Alzheimer’s Association said that the forecast comes from a mix of supposition and hard data.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

According to Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that results in problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a term used when a person suffers memory loss and other cognitive abilities. The symptoms tend to develop slowly and then worsen over time. Later on, the symptoms get worse that it interferes with daily tasks. Moreover, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s there are treatments available for symptoms and there is ongoing research on the disease. Current treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, but it can slow worsening dementia symptoms and helps to improve the quality of life for those suffering from the disease as well as their caregivers.

More people expected to become affected by Alzheimer’s

Back to the University of California Los Angeles study, the findings were culled from other studies that looked at 1,500 volunteers who live around Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It included healthy individuals with no risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers also used studies of people with mild cognitive impairment or memory loss that could lead to Alzheimer’s, as well as people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Researchers wrote that 46.7 million American adults over the age of 30 are in a “hypothetical preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Another 2.43 million have mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease” but researchers pointed that many will not progress to dementia.

The researchers also noted in their report that in 2017, there were 3.65 million cases of clinical Alzheimer’s in the U.S. An approximate 1.54 million of the 3.65 million cases living today “have late-stage clinical Alzheimer’s disease who need the level of care equivalent to nursing homes.”

Further, the study predicted that come 2060, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the United State will grow to 9.3 million.

New findings on canola oil link to Alzheimer’s

A new study conducted by researchers from Temple University revealed that canola oil decreased learning ability, inhibited memory, and led to weight gain for mice with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Published in “Scientific Reports,” the study revealed that the cheaper cost of canola oil and reputation as a healthier alternative makes it appealing to many consumers. Dr. Domenico Praticò said that “very few studies, however, have examined that claim, especially in terms of the brain.”

The test results on the lab rats revealed that when the animals were studied at a year old, mice who consumed canola oil were heavier than their control counterparts. Mice who consumed two tablespoons of canola each day performed poorly in areas such as short-term memory and working memory.

Dr. Praticò added that they want to know whether the undesirable effects of canola are specific for Alzheimer’s disease. He added that there is a chance that canola oil can “affect the onset and course of neurodegenerative diseases or other forms of dementia.”

 

Scientists suspect that canola oil is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, however, there is currently no strong evidence to prove it. (Photo by Veganbaking.net via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0)

A disease that kills

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In other parts of the globe, numbers of those affected by the disease are expected to balloon in the next few decades.

The bad news is that there are no drugs that can tackle Alzheimer’s but only its symptoms. There are companies leading the innovation of finding a cure such as Eli Lilly and Merck, however, they were affected by costly failures. In addition to this, there are scientists who disagree amongst themselves on what should be targeted in finding a cure.

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Because the disease progresses over time, patients tend to lose basic motor skills like swallowing, walking, or controlling bladder and bowel. Difficulty in swallowing can cause food to be inhaled, which then results in pneumonia. Meanwhile, the inability to walk can result in bedsores. Incontinence results in bladder infections. Adding to the difficulty of dealing with Alzheimer’s is patients who cannot understand their path of treatment.

Being incapacitated from Alzheimer’s sets the stage for a lot of complications such as deadly infections. According to doctors, a patient affected by an Alzheimer’s patient could progress “to the point that damage from the disease to the centers of the brain that control breathing could cause death.” Once a patient is totally incapacitated, little medical motivation can aggressively treat infections.

 

 

Michael Jermaine Cards has made a second home in Singapore for the past 15 years. As a business executive and a financial journalist, he has seen first hand the spectacular rise of Asia’s most prosperous country, especially in the IT sector. Today he still gets a front seat at the latest market developments, stock movements, and IT innovations. He keeps close to the Western fintech sphere through his contacts in his native New York. A family man with one son, he does business consulting in parallel to his writing.

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