Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mice in the Attic


glenda
"As many as 4.5 million Americans suffer from AIzheimer disease (AD), which usually begins after age 60, and the risk of developing the disease goes up with age. About 5% of men and women aged 65-74 have AD, and nearly half of those aged 85 and older have the disease.

AD is characterized by the presence of protein plaques and tangles of fibers in brain tissue. The disease may in fact be caused by the abnormal processing of the so-called amyloid precursor protein and the accumulation of the protein [beta]-amyloid. Other brain abnormalities in people with AD include nerve cell death in specific areas that are vital to memory and other mental abilities, as well as lower levels of certain neurotransmitters.

Journal Title: Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume: 113. Issue: 1. Publication Year: 2005. Page Number: 31.

My mother died from Alzhiemer's a year ago. Her father died from Alzheimer's when I was 17. Does this put me and my siblings at higher risk for contracting the disease? It is unclear at this time how much of the disease has associated genetic characteristics that may be passed on to later generations.

My mother spoke several languages fluently before succumbing to this illness. She was a smart child and graduated from college at 19 or 20, I believe. Intelligence obviously is unrelated to the factors that precipitate the onset of Alzheimer's.

And so we all read with interest the untangling of the fibers in the brain tissue and the untangling of the cure and prevention measures.

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