The Causes Of Alzheimer's Disease

Damage To The Brain
Alzheimer's is a progressive loss of memory, and language skills, caused by a damage to the brain. The majority of cases begin after 60. A decade or more before symptoms begin to show, toxic changes have already began in the brain that cause abnormal deposits of proteins to form into amyloid plaques and tau tangles through out the brain. 

The affected brain cells begin to work less effectively. Eventually they lose their ability to communicate with each other and die. Over time, the damage spreads to the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain where memory is made. As more brain cells die, the hippocampus shrinks followed by a progressive lose of memory.
Old Age Related Changes
Because Alzheimer's largely affect older adults, researchers believe there might be a link between Alzheimer's and the damage caused by age-related changes in the body such as athrophy (shrinking) of certain parts of the brain, inflamation, the production of unstable molecules called free radicals, and a dysfunction of the mitochondria of brain cells.
Genetic Factors
Many studies have linked the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene to the onset of Alzheimer's in people over 60. The APOE gene comes in several forms. Some people with the gene may have an increased risk for Alzheimer's, while other may have the gene but may not necessarily get Alzheimer's. Researchers have identified other common genes, in addition to APOE that may be the cause of late-onset Alzheimer's.
Environmental and Lifestyle Factors
Researchers are interested in the connection between cognitive decline and health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Understanding these connections, and testing them in clinical trials will provide clues on whether reducing the risk factors for these health conditions could also reduce the risk factors for Alzheimer's.

Research Source: The National Institute On Aging

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