Developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is everyone’s worst nightmare. In general, a disease will negatively impact either a physical or a mental function; AD seizes both. It slowly and steadily destroys memory, logical thought, and language. Simple tasks — how to eat or comb hair, for example — are forgotten, and once AD develops there’s no turning back the clock.
The disease is named for Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German doctor who, during an autopsy in 1906, discovered physical changes in the brain of a woman who had died of a strange mental illness. He found plaques and tangles in her brain, signs that are now considered hallmarks of AD. Though there is no way to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease, there are several home remedies that can prevent its onset, as well as methods of helping both the victims of AD and their caregivers cope with its effects.
A Progressive Disease
AD is one of a group of brain disorders called dementia, which are progressive degenerative brain syndromes that affect memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia; between 50 and 60 percent of all cases of dementia can be attributed to AD.
Early symptoms include difficulty remembering names, places, or faces; and having trouble recalling things that just happened. Personality changes and confusion (such as when driving a car or handling money) are also early symptoms. Eventually, mild forgetfulness progresses to problems in comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. And physical breakdown occurs, too, partly because tasks such as eating and drinking are simply forgotten or too difficult to accomplish.
While we don’t yet know the cause of AD, we do know that there are dietary and environmental factors. A stealth virus, which lies dormant for years, also is being studied as a possible cause, as are heredity factors. Aluminum has been suggested as a contributing cause, but the jury is still out on that. Most researchers believe, however, that if aluminum plays a role in the development of AD, it is a minor one.